Conceptual and Methodological Advances
Edited by Frank Vanclay and Ana Maria Esteves
7. Considering gender in social impact assessment Kuntala Lahiri-Dutt and Nesar Ahmad Introduction: feminist perspectives on social impacts Large infrastructure and development projects have long-term impacts on the communities living in and around them by changing the entire social and cultural fabric of community life. Attempts to analyse, monitor and manage these impacts by experts have given rise to the social impact assessment (SIA) literature. This chapter points out that these impacts are ‘gendered’ in that they are different for women than for men, a difference that is rooted in different roles played by women and men, and exacerbated by the shifting burden of work that falls on women and girls, who carry out a disproportionate share of the unpaid work in households. In popular parlance, the terms ‘gender’ and ‘sex’ are often equated, although technically they are quite different. Sex refers to the biological differences between males and females, whereas gender refers to the social differences – how individuals conceive of their roles as males and females, roles that are largely sanctioned and ascribed by society. In other words, gender refers to how societies set the behavioural, social and cultural rules for being a man or a woman, and the way a society creates, shapes and rewards the notions of femininity and masculinity (Bradley, 2007). Broadly, the social impacts of many projects include agrarian restructuring, declining household assets, differential entry into labour markets and differential burden of care. Since women and men play different roles at the household and community...
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