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Equal Aqua: Fostering Gender Diversity in Water Sector Jobs


Getting to Equal in Water: How to Improve Gender Equality in Water Institutions

To respond to current challenges on water and sanitation service delivery, water scarcity, and climate change, Water institutions must modernize and attract a talented workforce with a diverse skill set. This means including women. Evidence shows that water institutions that are gender diverse perform better than those that are less inclusive. Yet, women remain heavily under-represented.


The Equal Aqua Platform supports gender diversity in water sector jobs. The Platform, established in 2019, offers tools, resources, and services to support gender equality efforts among water institutions around the world. 

Equal Aqua Services

Equal Aqua’s services consist of:

  • Data collection and benchmarking
  • Operational support
  • Partnerships, capacity building, and knowledge exchange

Equal Aqua Services

For a brief summary of what Equal Aqua can offer your institution, click here

Equal Aqua hosts the largest Global Database on Women in Water Jobs, relying on data from water institutions across the world.  

Over 200 institutions have completed the Equal Aqua human resources (HR) survey.

To date, over 60 World Bank water operations have engaged with Equal Aqua and benefited from technical assistance.

This technical support is guided by a framework for gender equality in water employment. The framework covers gender equality challenges and solutions at four stages of the employee life cycle: attraction, recruitment, retention, and advancement. It can be applied by water institutions of all scales and scopes of operation.

Equal Aqua Framework

Client institutions that complete the Equal Aqua HR survey (available in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese), receive a confidential scorecard that benchmarks their performance on gender inclusion vis-à-vis other water institutions in their country, region, and the world. This diagnosis enables the design and implementation of customized solutions to address identified gender barriers. See examples of effective interventions at each employee life cycle stage.

It also supports women working in the water sector by providing a space where female engineers, managers, and other water workers can find information, training opportunities and tools to help them advance in their careers. 

Equal Aqua Partners

The Platform was established by the World Bank’s Water Global Practice, with the support of Global Water Security & Sanitation Partnership (GWSP) and in collaboration with the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and WaterAid. 

Equal Aqua is comprised of a diverse set of partners including water utilities, private sector companies, international organizations and associations, NGOs, and academia who contribute to its mission.

Equal Aqua Partner Logos

Equal Aqua Case Studies

Global | Case Studies Database - UTS: Approaches in Water Workplace

Cambodia | UTS: Gender equality and women in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) enterprises in Cambodia (Report)  

Colombia | WB: Ideas on how to break gender barriers in Colombia's water sector (Blog post)

Danube Region | WB: Women in Utilities: A Driving Force for Workforce Modernization (Knowledge note)  

Kenya | Women in Water Leadership Circle (Case Study)

Kenya | WSUP: Barriers for female decision-makers in Kenya’s sanitation sector (Research Brief)

Malawi | WB: One single amenity can make all the difference to gender diversity in the workplace (Blog post)​

Equal Aqua Events

Self-paced e-Course Water, Women and Jobs: Breaking Barriers to Female Employment in Water

Curso virtual asincrónico | Agua, mujeres y empleo: derribando barreras para el empleo de las mujeres en el sector del agua

Webinar | Tools for diagnosing gender, diversity and inclusion in water and sanitation utilities| January 19, 2023 (GWOPA, UTS, WB)

Webinar | Practical Actions to Support Women in the WASH Workforce | January 27, 2022 (UNICEF, UTS, WB)

Webinar | Conquering the Unconscious Bias | September 22, 2021 | Event summary

Webinar Fixing the Leaks: Retaining Female Talent in the Water Sector | February 4, 2021

For more webinars and events, please visit our online community here.


Breaking Barriers Report Cover


Read the report that started Equal Aqua and planted the seed for the largest database on women in water jobs.
Women in Water Utilities: Breaking Barriers Arrow