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Gender mainstreaming in resettlement processes: Have we done enough?

Nghi Quy Nguyen's picture
A Thai woman in a consultation meeting in Trung Son
Hydropower Project. Photo: Mai Bo / World Bank

Last August, I visited Quang Ngai, a central coastal province in Vietnam, to collect data for a survey on women’s participation in resettlement activities. I expected our first meeting with the local community to be short and uncontroversial. It wasn’t.

“We, women? Our participation? It doesn’t matter. We all stay at home. We don’t care about you coming here and asking about our participation,” said one female participant. “What we do care is to know the extent to which the recommendations we make today will be addressed. We need a resettlement site with community house, trees and kindergarten as promised during the project preparation.” 

That comment brought to light an important perspective, highlighting the tension between what we might expect women to want, and their actual needs.

The impacts of development-induced resettlement disproportionately affect women, as they are faced with more difficulties than men to cope with disruption to their families. And this is particularly the case if there is no mechanism to enable meaningful participation and consultation with women throughout the project cycle in general and in the resettlement process in particular.

Gender “mainstreaming” — not (actually) lost in translation

Patricia Fernandes's picture

Available in 中文

Changes were made in the way village meetings were run so women would participate more.

Whenever and wherever the Bank supports a project, to “mainstream” gender is one of the goals. The idea is a fairly simple one. Right? Making sure that men and women benefit equally from the poverty reduction activities we support. 

There are a number of tools we produce to help us achieve this—Gender Analysis, Regional Gender Action Plans, County Gender Action Plans, Gender Disaggregated Outcome Indicators, Gender Check-Lists, Strategies and Tool-Kits, etc. So looking at the amount of guidance we seem to need one might be forgiven for thinking this is an exceedingly complex task and for wondering whether in reality (i.e. after that board approval is done and the real work of implementation begins) all of the “gender mainstreaming language” doesn’t get a little lost in translation… 

Matching governance demand and supply

Naazneen Barma's picture

For over a decade, the World Bank has emphasized the centrality of good public sector governance and anticorruption efforts in achieving sustainable development impact in low- and middle-income countries.  But more recently the Bank has widened its analytic and operational lens on governance to include what is being called the “demand-side” of governance.  What does this mean, and what are the implications for Bank work in its client countri