Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink: Pani politics (water politics) in rural Bangladesh

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37 Scopus citations


This article looks at the nature of water politics (pani politics) in the context of arsenic contamination of drinking water in rural Bangladesh. Pani politics is found to be a product of intersecting similarities and differences among women and men, where water comes to have material and symbolic power that people can exercise, which can lead to conflicts, marginalization and suffering vis-a-vis water. Gendered location makes a difference in arsenic contaminated areas, where gender differentiated impacts are being observed, in terms of water access, control and ramifications of water poisoning. However, gender has to be understood as intersecting with other axes of differentiation such as social class, age and geographical location, to understand the nuances and multiple ways that arsenic poisoning and water hardship affect lives of men and women in different ways. Attention to such differences highlights the variations in gendered hardships, labor, rights and resources vis-a-vis water, and the way that everyday politics comes to play a role in the ways that people negotiate their lives around water and arsenic in landscapes of social inequality and heterogeneity of arsenic contamination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)494-502
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Feminist Journal of Politics
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Arsenic
  • Bangladesh
  • Gender
  • Public health
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations


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