BRIDGE Report 51: Infrastructure and Poverty: A Gender Analysis

Author: S. Baden, R. Masika
Publisher: Institute of Development Studies UK
Publication Date: Jun 1997
Gender debates on infrastructure have been restricted to particular sectors, notably water and sanitation, where women's role collecting water, and the impacts on health are recognised. More recently, attention has turned to the transport sector. A major part of low income, especially rural, women's time is used in transportation for both domestic and income generating purposes, often without access to technologies or services which would make their journeys easier. However, infrastructure more broadly also has important gender implications. Access to infrastructure by the poor, and women particularly, will be restricted by: lack of appropriate technologies or regulatory standards; lack of property rights and access to credit; harassment of informal sector providers; poor maintenance and management systems; and subsidies benefiting the better off. Women's participation is essential to building a more effective infrastructure which meets people's needs more widely. However, participation by women does not mean women taking on the work of providing basic infrastructure. Complementary investments will be required to realise the economic or social benefits of their participation.