Friday, July 9, 2010

Gender, Economic Integration and Cross-Border Infrastructure Development

We do not often provide coverage of conferences and their output, however World Streets is strongly  committed to the concept of taking women's needs as the prime target, the defining metric of transport policy and practice in cities and in rural areas.  (If you click to you will be taken to other articles in this W/S series and campaign.)

The International Workshop on Gender, Economic Integration and Cross-border Infrastructure Development aimed to discuss how regional economic integration strengthened by cross-border road networks has a differentiated effect based on gender, ethnicity and class. The workshop was organised in June in Bangkok by the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) Thailand and the Asia-Pacific Regional Secretariat of the International Forum for Rural Transport and Development (IFRTD). It was supported by the Japan-ASEAN Solidarity Fund, ASEAN Foundation, Asian Development Bank and global Transport Knowledge Partnership (gTKP).

Opening speeches were made by:

  • Dr. Filemon A. Uriarte, Jr., Executive Director, ASEAN Foundation

  • Mr. Tomoyuki Sakairi, First Secretary of Embassy of Japan

  • Ms. Sonomi Tanaka, Principal Social Development Specialist (Gender & Development), ADB

  • Prof. S. Rakshit , Vice President - Research, AIT

  • Mr. Ranjith de Silva, Regional Coordinator of the IFRTD Asia and Pacific Secretariat.

  • Dr. Kyoko Kusakabe described the outline of the workshop and a research study on gender carried out in the Mekong Region.

The workshop was conducted in two parallel Panels, in which all the presentations were categorised in the three themes below.

  1. Transportation development and gendered mobility.

  2. Transportation development and its social and gender impact.

  3. Cross border trade and transportation development.

The final plenary of the workshop was a Panel discussion moderated by Ranjith de Silva, IFRTD Asia-Pacific Regional Coordinator.

Members of the Panel:

  • Ms. Nite Tanzarn (IFRTD Board Member) from Uganda.

  • Ms. Sonomi Tanaka, Principal Social Development Specialist (Gender & Transport) of the ADB

  • Mr. Upali Pannilage. Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, university of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka.

The following issues and facts were taken up at the Panel discussion by the panelists and participants.

  • Impacts of transport interventions on the earning power of women.

  • Amount of gender disaggregated data made available from the Mekong Regional study. There was concern regarding the efficiency on the dissemination of baseline data of the Mekong research.

  • Benefits of being closer to the intervention/border/bridge.

  • Evidence of impacts needs to be delivered to relevant policy makers.

  • The research and workshop outcomes should be shared with technical practitioner (e.g. engineers, planners) to enable them to mainstream social issues in their plans.

  • The papers presented at the workshop can be categorised in to three aspects:

    • Direct relevancy to Gender and common to many countries in the region.

    • How to internalise this data into our work.

    • Some papers discussed facts within specific contexts and hence some issues in the sector were left out.

  • Need for gender specific and gender neutral projects.

  • Participation of beneficiaries at planning levels.

  • No updating of good studies carried out earlier there is a need to look at the emergence of different gender needs due various social and economic changes in the present day context.

  • Gender is not just about women.

  • We need to encourage a wider audience thinking about gender and transport issues.

  • The transport sector appears to have changed the gender roles.

Moving forward:

  1. Influencing and lobbying should not be stopped.

  2. Invest in research that in turn is an investment in policy changes.

  3. Further strengthening the gender analytical capacities.

  4. Do not store the research findings and evidence but use them.

  5. Gender is a subject to be included in university curricula.

  6. How to do the “updating” of data?

The full papers presented at the workshop can be accessed here:

The Power Point presentations and full proceedings will soon be available at the IFRTD and AIT websites respectively at and

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