A Gender Lens into Sanitation Technology Innovation

April 2020

Innovators in the water and sanitation sector are focused on closing the sanitation gap in developing countries through innovation in technologies that enable waste treatment on-site. To ensure universal access, these technologies need to meet the practices and preferences of different genders.

This paper used an online survey and follow-up telephone interviews with technology developers to examine the different technology development processes through a gender lens. It also explores the influence of the composition of the research and development teams on gender considerations in the project, because the water and sanitation technology world is often male-dominated.

It found that most of the teams incorporated gender considerations, although with limited depth. Teams designing user interfaces and toilet cabin stalls were most likely to integrate gender. Waste-processing technologies are often assumed to be neutral, not requiring gender considerations. Technology development teams were predominately male, although with some female representation; a few had female leaders.

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PublisherJournal of Management in Engineering

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