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Gender & Sustainable Development - Activities

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Making Infrastructure Work for Women and Men: A Fifteen-Year Portfolio Review of World Bank Infrastructure Projects


Nearby piped potable water can
dramatically reduce the time required
for domestic tasks.

The portfolio review revealed important progress on gender integration in infrastructure operations during FY1995-2009. The review also revealed many innovative approaches across the regions and sectors that ensured both women and men benefit from the opportunities provided by infrastructure projects. A transport project in Mumbai, India provided joint titling of resettlement property to both women and men, and an energy project in Bangladesh invested in women entrepreneurs to provide alternative small-scale energy technologies. Attention to gender also increased project effectiveness and sustainability. Women’s participation in design and decision making in water users’ associations in Morocco, Karnataka, Kerala and Nepal and Rural Electrification cooperatives in Bangladesh improved governance, efficiency, cost recovery and production. The Papua New Guinea Mining Sector project revealed that women’s participation enhanced the benefits of mining for the poorest people and promoted the sustainability of the project.

arrow-blue Good Practices


A Proposed Business Plan for Accelerating Gender Integration into Sustainable Development Network (SDN)'s Operational Work

The overarching objectives of the business plan will be to define and implement a strategic program of gender integration initiatives across the full range of SDN’s operational pipeline and portfolio, and, in so doing, to strengthen the development effectiveness and sustainability of operational work. The plan will be developed in collaboration with the Gender Department, the sustainable development sectors, and the regions.



Men and women of Amauta-B
shantytown band together to build a
restraining wall in their community.
Peru. Credit: Scott Wallace/WB

Stocktaking on Gender and Infrastructure

This paper is being drafted jointly with the World Bank Gender Department. This is a review of the evidence available globally that summarizes the rationale for addressing gender issues in policies and programs in infrastructure sectors. The report develops a framework focusing on gender-based differences that establishes the core building blocks for tackling gender issues in the infrastructure sectors. These gender based differences are (a) roles of men and women in use of infrastructure; (b) constraints faced by men and women in accessing and using infrastructure; (c) implications for sector policy and programs of these gender-differentiated roles and constraints; and (d) priorities for infrastructure policy and investments taking account of these differences. This framework helps a gendered understanding of the sectors that can lead to more informed policy-making and program design, better response to the different needs and priorities of men and women. The report also presents selected case materials of analysis and operational work, with a view to illustrating ways in which gender issues are addressed in infrastructure work and add value both to upstream policy-making and to downstream operational design.


Tools for Making Infrastructure Work for Women and Men

Social Development Department has developed brief, relevant, and practical tools and good practice cases for infrastructure project teams and their government counterparts in energy, information and communications technology, mining, transport, urban development, and water and sanitation.

The package of tools begins with a short introduction and rationale for addressing gender in its broader social context in infrastructure sector policies and programs. The tools provide key entry points for integrating gender into infrastructure policy dialogue, questions for assessing gender concerns throughout the project cycle, and methods to develop effective gender plans and frameworks. For ICT and its applications, tools include approaches to bridge the gender digital divide and promote greater access for all. A tool presents a matrix of effective approaches to promote equal opportunities and access in transport projects, as well as a checklist for inclusive involuntary displacement and resettlement. Urban Development Tools include suggestions for overcoming obstacles in addressing gender and other social issues in urban housing projects, solid waste management, market rehabilitation, urban disaster assessment, and combating gender-based violence in cities. A water and sanitation tool details what governments can do to make services equitable and sustainable. All the sectoral tools include examples of gender-responsive indicators, and resources, including good practice case studies, web-based networks and suggested readings.



During floods women and children travel
great distances through flood waters to
collect safe drinking water.
Credit: Salahuddin Azizee

Gender Dimension of Climate Change: Bangladesh Case

A core message from World Development Report 2010 is that women and men experience climate change differently and they also differ in their capacities to respond to it. Women are more vulnerable to the impacts of climate change in the short and long term, particularly in settings such as Bangladesh where more women than men perish in natural disasters like cyclones. At the same time recent research indicates that women in Bangladesh and elsewhere are adapting their farming and other livelihood practices in response to the changing frequency and duration of natural disasters such as floods, cyclones, doughts associated with climate change. The study of the gender dimension of climate change in Bangladesh is examining the differential impacts of climate change on women and men in different climate change "hot spots" as well as gender differences in adaptive capacity and adaptation strategies. The study is also looking at social capital, collective action and interface with local institutions for preparedness in climate responsiveness. Study findings will guide the development of gender-sensitive tools to facilitate effective adaptation to the effects of climate change for local institutions and organizations working with vulnerable groups.


Partnerships with other Sustainable Development Departments


Solar energy lights a home in Sri Lanka.
  • ENERGY: Technical Assistance for Gender in Energy Solutions is a Joint program with the Energy Sector Management Assistance Program (ESMAP). Key activities are analytical work, gender informed monitoring and evaluation, technical assistance to energy sector activities, capacity building of government and Bank staff. A Background Paper on Gender and Energy is being drafted with the Energy Department to inform the forthcoming World Bank Group Energy Strategy 2011.

  • ENVIRONMENT: A Background Paper on Gender and Environment is being drafted jointly with the Environment Department, to inform the forthcoming World Bank Group Environment Strategy 2011. Consultations will be carried out with internal and external stakeholders for taking feedback on critical gender issues in environment.

  • TRANSPORT: For the past three years, Social Development Department has been working with the Transport Anchor; and Regions on a Capacity Building for Mainstreaming Gender in Transport initiative. This initiative, supported by Gender Action Plan includes analytical work, providing technical assistance to transport task teams, and organizing workshops on gender and transport.




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