This article argues that there are contradictions between gender goals and policies and the aspirations of irrigation professionals, which are embedded in the incentive structure of the bureaucracy. In addition, the dominant professional culture of irrigation engineers is strongly masculine, linking professional performance to masculinity. The prevailing incentives and culture of the irrigation bureaucracy stand in the way of achieving any real progress in terms of gender goals. This article is based on evidence collected through an in-depth study of the irrigation bureaucracy in Nepal between 2001 and 2007.
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