Closing the Gender Gap: Punjab Water Supply and Sanitation Project

Publication | March 2007

The Punjab Water Supply and Sanitation Project took special consideration of a significant cultural and social norm in the communities: water collection is considered women's work.

This good practice paper looks at how the Punjab Water Supply and Sanitation Project developed female beneficiaries into change agents. The paper summarizes the planning, design, and implementation of gender-specific components that made the water supply project the success that it is. The benefits that the women are receiving, and passing on to their households and communities, are not just project bi-products. The benefits were carefully planned and designed for. As a result, it wasn't just their improved access to water that is improving women’s quality of life.

Water is just a means to a much larger end—an end that is the beginning of more balanced gender relations and higher levels of health, income, and education. With the chance to be change agents, the project women have become leaders and are making their communities a better, more promising place. And the men in their families and communities are starting to give them credit for their role in that change.


  • Introduction
  • Potential in Punjab
  • Setting the Gender Agenda
  • The Benefits of Doing the Gender Homework
  • Remaining Challenges in Closing the Gender Gap
  • Hopeful Future for Rural Punjab