Mainstreaming gender in modelling

November 28th, 2018

For the water sector, the advent of gender mainstreaming presents an opportunity to build on existing efforts to include and acknowledge all users and managers of water.

Gender mainstreaming quote
Gender mainstreaming quote
CSIRO through the Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio (SDIP) is working towards building awareness and capacity in integrating gender considerations in environmental and water modelling.

SDIP team member Evie Packett recently presented a webinar through the Australian Water School that featured findings from a recent investigation with Joyce Wu and Nicky Grigg into applying gender analysis to a water management modelling framework.

Current water modelling methodologies rarely include gender. A 2017 Stockholm Environment Institute² survey revealed that 88% of responders thought that gender and social equity issues should be included in their modelling research but only 7% said it was.

To investigate this further the CSIRO team asked, ‘when building a model to support water management, would considering gender in every stage of the modelling process create different and better outcomes for the men and women affected by water management decisions and policies?’

Gender in modelling steps
Gender in modelling steps

Gender analysis can be integrated within the modelling process by considering these examples for 1) problem definition, 2) option modelling, and 3) decision making.

Using an Australian standard for best practice in modelling (Black et al.’s Guidelines for Water Management Modelling³) they reviewed the three key steps and provided a range of examples to illustrate how gender analysis can be integrated within the modelling process.

The CSIRO SDIP team is committed to exploring how to have a more interdisciplinary approach towards modelling, as well as building greater participation and input from different groups of water users, including women and marginalised groups.

Report cover mainstreaming and modelling

The ‘Mainstreaming and modelling’ report has been generated from this work, and opens new possibilities for how we design and build models in the future to better address gender-specific needs.




Mainstreaming posterThe concepts of this work are also presented in a poster about mainstreaming and modelling.




About SDIP

This work is part of a portfolio of investments supported by the Australian Government addressing the regional challenges of water, food and energy security in South Asia.

The SDIP Phase 2 aims to improve the integrated management of water, energy and food in the Himalayan river basins, addressing climate risk and the interests of women and girls. It seeks to:

  • strengthen practices for regional cooperation
  • generate and use critical new knowledge to enhance regional cooperation
  • improve the regional enabling environment for private sector engagement.

Find out more about SDIP in CSIRO by visiting our website

Access the SDIP publications

Find more information about international water research at CSIRO

¹ Alston M (2009) Drought policy in Australia: gender mainstreaming or gender blindness? Gender, Place & Culture 16(2), 139–154.

² SEI (2017) Fact Sheet GSE Interview And Survey Results. Image.

³ Black D, P Wallbrink, P Jordan, D Waters, C Carroll, J Blackmore (2011) ‘Guidelines For Water Management Modelling’. Towards Best-Practice Model Application. Canberra: eWater Cooperative Research Centre.