The Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene – Gender Equality Measure

The WASH-GEM is a novel quantitative measure designed to assist practitioners and researchers in exploring gender outcomes associated with water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs for women and men.

Globally, women and girls often bear the responsibilities for WASH, including water collection, cleaning, cooking, and childcare. And consequently, poor WASH disproportionately affects women and girls.

Over the last ten years, researchers at the Institute for Sustainable Futures-University of Technology Sydney (ISF-UTS) have been exploring the connections between gender and WASH. Qualitative evidence has shown that transformed gender dynamics are fundamental to inclusive and sustained WASH improvements. Likewise, that improvements in WASH can be a pathway to strengthened gender equality.

Building on this qualitative evidence, a team at ISF-UTS recently developed a tool to explore the connections between gender equality and WASH. This tool is called the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Gender Equality Measure – the WASH-GEM. The WASH-GEM can describe these connections and evaluate changes over time.

The WASH-GEM was developed and piloted in 2019-2021 with iDE in Cambodia and SNV in Nepal, within the DFAT Water for Women Fund. The conceptual model for the WASH-GEM was developed through a collaborative process. It was informed by a review of relevant literature and through engagement with practitioners and specialists in the fields of gender, WASH, and international development. The tool has been tested and refined through three rounds of collaborative piloting in both countries.


Introducing the WASH-GEM    [ video ]

This 3-minute introductory video is a great place to start for programme teams seeking to learn about the WASH-GEM. The video introduces the five WASH-GEM domains and the use of a quantitative measure for programme evaluation.

Title_GTSA_Nobo Jatra Program Case Study Learning Report

Introducing the WASH-GEM  [ brief ]

This summary brief introduces the WASH-GEM – a quantitative measure to assist practitioners and researchers in assessing in changes gender outcomes associated with water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programmes for women and men.

Title_GTSA_Nobo Jatra Program Case Study Learning Report

Guidance on the WASH-GEM

This Guidance Document describes the design and use of the WASH-GEM. It includes interactive content to guide programme teams in applying the tool in projects. 

The additional resources below are supplementary materials to this Guidance Document. 

Additional Resources


Survey Instrument Summary

PPT | 1 MB    

Detailed Survey Instrument

XLS | 137 KB   


Participant Information Sheet

DOC | 45 KB    

Enumerator Training Slidedeck

PPT | 13 MB    

Enumerator Debrief Template


26 KB

Do-no-harm Strategy

DOC | 1 MB   


Sample Analysis Plan

PDF | 626 KB    

Sensemaking Workshop Slidedeck

PPT | 3 MB   

Sensemaking Canvases + Tables

PPT | 182 KB