The International Handbook of Social Impact Assessment

The International Handbook of Social Impact Assessment

Conceptual and Methodological Advances

Elgar original reference

Edited by Henk A. Becker and Frank Vanclay

This important Handbook presents an indispensable overview of the range of new methods and of the conceptual advances in Social Impact Assessment (SIA). Recent increased attention to social considerations has led to substantial development in the techniques useful to, and the thinking in, SIA. A distinguished group of contributors provides an up-to-date and comprehensive account of the cutting-edge in SIA development.

Chapter 11: Assessing Gender Impacts

Bina Srinivasan and Lyla Mehta

Subjects: economics and finance, valuation, environment, environmental sociology, research methods in the environment, valuation, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, research methods in social policy, sociology and sociological theory


Bina Srinivasan and Lyla Mehta Introduction Infrastructure projects have multiple and differential impacts on women, men and children. An evaluation of social impacts, especially on vulnerable groups, such as poor women and children, has to go beyond an assessment of monetary loss (Colson, 1999; Thukral, 1996; Parasuraman, 1993, 1997; Srinivasan, 1997, 1999). In this context, the intangible nature of social impacts, the tendency to emphasize the quantifiable impacts, the relatively poor integration of a qualitative perspective in evaluative exercises and reductionist assumptions of cost–benefit analyses are some of the issues that require discussion. Superimposing itself on all these factors is the central issue of gender. Assessment of social impacts is clearly a complex process that involves indepth understanding of the multiplicity of contexts in which affected communities are situated. This process is rendered even more complex when gender is integrated in evaluation exercises. One of the major reasons for this complexity stems from the need to prise out the often hidden dimensions of the way gender is organized and has become manifest. Compounding the issue is the inevitable social transition that affected communities go through in the course of the planning, execution and implementation of development projects. Such transitions imposed upon a community, or even initiated by it, have many implications for its gender organization. Gender imbalances exist in every society (World Bank, 2001). There are high levels of inequality in terms of access to, and control over, resources, gender roles and relationships. Our...

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