What do you do if you want to boost the benefits flowing to women from a regional road project?
Shanny has 18 years of experience in gender and social development, spanning every ADB geography and sector. She is passionate about the issue, particularly innovations and methodologies to meaningfully empower women.
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How many of your childhood friends do you remember who climbed trees, drew imaginative pictures showing how things worked, built cities of Lego, rode bikes, constructed forts from blankets and furniture and invented elaborate games involving hiding, seeking, capturing … and getting really filthy?
The only professional women many girls in rural Nepal see are health workers and teachers. Therefore it nearly always sparks conversations when members of our project field teams are women engineers and scientists. You can just see the expanded future possibilities ticking away behind girls’ eyes.
Women are the majority users of public transport. This may be because they are less likely to drive a car than men, or less likely to have priority use of a family vehicle. They are also more likely than men to be poor, making the ownership, re-fuelling and maintenance of a motor vehicle less of an option, especially for women in many developing countries. We can add this to the pervasive gender stereotypes in some countries dictating whether it is culturally appropriate for women to drive a car, take a bus, or even travel at all, especially on their own.
Perhaps the saddest indication of discrimination against women and girls are the millions of baby girls who are simply not born every year due to pre natal sex selection. On the average, for every 100 baby girls born in the world, we should expect between 104 and 107 baby boys to be born. This is called Sex Ratio at Birth or SRB.