Possibilities of a gender-responsive infrastructure for livelihood-vulnerable women's resilience in rural-coastal Bangladesh

Author:- Md. Azharul Islam, Muntaha Marzan Shetu, Sheikh Serajul Hakim
Category:- Book; Year:- 2022
Discipline:- Architecture Discipline
School:- Science, Engineering & Technology School


With the simultaneous increase of natural hazards and land- and resource-vulnerable women in the rural coasts of Bangladesh, large- and medium-scale infrastructure and livelihood programmes by government and non-government-organisations have been plenty. Yet, gender-responsive and livelihood-integrated infrastructure for these women's adaptation against increasing coastal vulnerabilities has been scarce. This paper outlines an infrastructure framework for improving their livelihood resilience in the scarcity of similar research. A case study approach was assumed for this research. Based on a conceptual framework, in-depth interviews and focus-group-discussions with vulnerable women and key-informant-interview of NGO/government respondents were primarily used for data collection at Latachapli – a disaster-vulnerable coastal village in Southwest Bangladesh. Findings were derived primarily through inductive thematic coding. Rural coastal women's livelihood vulnerabilities result from the lack of adequate, spatial/infrastructural and integrated (socio-economic) facilities and institutions. There is a clear need for a community-level and gender-responsive spatio-physical platform to create income generation/livelihood diversification opportunities irrespective of seasonalities, skill/capacity development and sharing/networking possibilities. Due to case-specificity, research findings are representative but not generalisable. Further research is needed, especially at the intersection of gender, inequality and infrastructure design/planning regarding vulnerable women's resilience. This proposed infrastructure framework can be considered for similar disaster-vulnerable rural coastal settings as a development policy and a physical infrastructure. This case study's in-depth probing into vulnerable coastal women's livelihoods contributes to a growing body of knowledge, highlights their complex needs, and re-conceptualises gender-responsive infrastructure in similar communities' sustainable development. Piecemeal funding for social services will be more effective if coordinated with and allocated to appropriate engineering infrastructure. With access to proper community facilities and diverse livelihood opportunities all around the year (in this case, a multipurpose gender-sensitive infrastructure), communities would be more empowered to self-organise and support each other in delivering necessary soft services. 

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