critical issue, but men tend to qualify the shortage as severe, whereas women tend to qualify the same problem as moderate. These differences highlight gendered priorities since men often consider water shortages for irrigation a serious problem, while many women consider sanitation and household water access and supply a serious problem. For women, water shortages create health issues and acute labour burdens because they are primarily responsible for collecting and carrying water from great distances in arduous mountain conditions. These differences in experience and perception relate to socially constructed gender divisions in labour, roles and responsibilities. They affect inter and intra-household decision-making and prioritisation, especially about appropriate types of solutions and investments in infrastructure in response to what differently positioned women and men perceive as the main problem.
Similarly, women and men perceive experiences of climate change differently in places affected by floods such as Assam and Bihar in India. During floods, men reported being concerned about generating an income, which frequently entails migrating away from their households and families for low paid casual labour. This situation conditions their perceptions of hardship. In contrast, many women reported being concerned with immediate household livelihoods and sustenance and believe that they suffer the most during floods. When men out-migrate, women’s workloads increase disproportionately but their decision-making power remains marginal. These dynamics condition womens’ and mens’ perceptions of hardship differentially. These gender nuances in perceptions may also vary among women and men, when differences in caste, class, ethnicity, marital status, life cycle positioning, age and other factors and context-specificities are taken into account.
Drought also severely affects women, because it has an impact on their livestock and irrigation strategies, household water availability and the distances they must travel to harvest and carry water. Improved, culturally appropriate, gender-sensitive and demand-driven household water supply solutions can provide a crucial opportunity for extra income opportunities and time-saving for women, thus helping economically impoverished households to better bridge the dry season (Sijbesma et al., 2009). Therefore, green technology inputs should factor into their design and support the immediate needs of women, including agricultural, irrigation, household use and livelihood needs, as well as social, cultural and gendered priorities and preferences.