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Gender-Based Vulnerability: Combining Pareto Ranking and Spatial Statistics to Model Gender-Based Vulnerability in Rohingya Refugee Settlements in Bangladesh


Nelson, Erica L., Daniela Reyes Saade, and P. Gregg Greenough. 2020. “Gender-Based Vulnerability: Combining Pareto Ranking and Spatial Statistics to Model Gender-Based Vulnerability in Rohingya Refugee Settlements in Bangladesh.” International Journal of Health Geographics 19 (1): 1–14.

Authors: Erica L. Nelson, Daniela Reyes Saade, P. Gregg Greenough


Background: The Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh continues to outstrip humanitarian resources and undermine the health and security of over 900,000 people. Spatial, sector-specific information is required to better understand the needs of vulnerable populations, such as women and girls, and to target interventions with improved efficiency and effectiveness. This study aimed to create a gender-based vulnerability index and explore the geospatial and thematic variations in gender-based vulnerability of Rohingya refugees residing in Bangladesh by utilizing preexisting, open source data.

Methods: Data sources included remotely-sensed REACH data on humanitarian infrastructure, United Nations Population Fund resource availability data, and the Needs and Population Monitoring Survey conducted by the International Organization for Migration in October 2017. Data gaps were addressed through probabilistic interpolation. A vulnerability index was designed through a process of literature review, variable selection and thematic grouping, normalization, and scorecard creation, and Pareto ranking was employed to rank sites based on vulnerability scoring. Spatial autocorrelation of vulnerability was analyzed with the Global and Anselin Local Moran’s I applied to both combined vulnerability index rank and disaggregated thematic ranking.

Results: Of the settlements, 24.1% were ranked as ‘most vulnerable,’ with 30 highly vulnerable clusters identified predominantly in the northwest region of metropolitan Cox’s Bazar. Five settlements in Dhokkin, Somitapara, and Pahartoli were categorized as less vulnerable outliers amongst highly vulnerable neighboring sites. Security- and health-related variables appear to be the most significant drivers of gender-specific vulnerability in Cox’s Bazar. Clusters of low security and education vulnerability measures are shown near Kutupalong.

Conclusion: The humanitarian sector produces tremendous amounts of data that can be analyzed with spatial statistics to improve research targeting and programmatic intervention. The critical utilization of these data and the validation of vulnerability indexes are required to improve the international response to the global refugee crisis. This study presents a novel methodology that can be utilized to not only spatially characterize gender-based vulnerability in refugee populations, but can also be calibrated to identify and serve other vulnerable populations during crises.

Keywords: Rohingya, refugees, gender, open-source data, vulnerability index, spatial analysis, GIS, Pareto ranking, spatial autocorrelation

Topics: Armed Conflict, Ethnic/Communal Wars, Displacement & Migration, Refugees, Refugee/IDP Camps, Gender, Health, Humanitarian Assistance, Violence Regions: Asia, South Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Bangladesh, Myanmar

Year: 2020

Case-Study: Battery-Operated Lamps Produced by Rural Women in Bangladesh


Khan, Hasna J. 2003. “Case-Study: Battery-Operated Lamps Produced by Rural Women in Bangladesh.” Energy for Sustainable Development 7 (3): 68–70.

Author: Hasna J. Khan


“Through consultations with community members and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) about energy needs in an area of remote islands outside the reach of the grid, electric lighting was identified as a high priority. The project identified a low-cost solution for improving the quality of indoor lighting of rural households by replacing the traditional kerosene lamps with modern battery-operated lamps. The project trained rural women to produce the lamps in a micro-enterprise manufacturing facility and distribute them through rural markets. By helping women shift away from traditional farm labour to skilled labour and gainful employment in the energy sector, the project has elevated the knowledge base of rural women and exposed them to mainstream commercial activities, while also meeting community needs for lighting” (Khan 2003, 68).

Topics: Economies, Gender, Women, Infrastructure, Energy, Livelihoods, NGOs Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh

Year: 2003

Women, Conflict and Conflict Reporting: The Deeply Gendered Discourse on the Rohingya Crisis in the News Websites in India


Malaviya, Ritambhara. 2020. "Women, Conflict and Conflict Reporting: The Deeply Gendered Discourse on the Rohingya Crisis in the News Websites in India." In Citizenship, Nationalism and Refugeehood of Rohingyas in Southern Asia, edited by Nasreen Chowdhory and Biswajit Mohanty, 171-88. Singapore: Springer, Singapore.

Author: Ritambhara Malaviya


History shows how female bodies have been the site of contestation in violent conflicts across the world. There are innumerable instances of the use of rape as a systematic weapon for proving the superiority of one’s own race during conflicts, for instance, during the Bosnian crisis, or even earlier during the 1971 war of independence of Bangladesh. While conflicts impact women and children especially because of their vulnerability, the very understanding of why and how the conflict happened is deeply gendered. The Rohingya crisis is a case in point. This chapter attempts to understand the gendered discourse underpinning the discussion on the Rohingya crisis in India through a study of some major news websites in India. As per the framework used by Galtung (The Missing Journalism on Conflict and Peace and the Middle East, 2005), news reporting in India on the Rohingya is split into two camps, the war/victory-oriented journalism and the alternative peace-oriented approach. This chapter notes that while war journalism draws upon concepts which are masculinist, the softer peace journalism resembles the approach of feminists towards conflicts and cooperation. Feminism has analysed how the categories like state, sovereignty, security and militarization are deeply gendered. The patterns of reporting, however, are seen to follow the mainstream masculinist framework. These masculinist lenses are seldom questioned, and how power operates through these categories is rarely the subject of reporting. Therefore, through a careful study of the news portals, the chapter tries to understand how the discourse on the Rohingya encompasses within it gendered stereotypes and power equations.

Keywords: Rohingya, gender, power, control, state, conflict

Topics: Armed Conflict, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gendered Discourses, Gendered Power Relations, Masculinism, Media, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Militarization, Security Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh, India

Year: 2020

Linkages Between Women and Energy Sector in Bangladesh


Amin, Sakib Bin, and Saanjaana Rahman. 2019. “Linkages Between Women and Energy Sector in Bangladesh.” In Energy Resources in Bangladesh: Trends and Contemporary Issues, 89–92. Cham: Springer Nature Switzerland AG.

Authors: Sakib Bin Amin, Saanjaana Rahman


Energy and women can be interrelated in many ways. The nature of the energy resource base, the features of the household, the effectiveness of energy policy and the position of women in the households can affect the relationship between energy and women. Women are usually deprived in Bangladesh regarding ownership and access to land, natural resources, credit, information and decision-making, at all levels. The energy industry is one of the most gender imbalanced sectors across the world. This hinders the development process of the developing and transition countries. Since the goal of Bangladesh government is to ensure everyone has access to sustainable energy, it is important for policymakers to understand the crucial and vital connection between gender and sustainable energy. To bridge the gender knowledge gap of macro energy projects, an initiative needs to be taken to unite mitigation practitioners to share optimum practices and insights into mainstreaming gender in the renewable energy sector. Incorporating gender perspectives into energy projects, policy and planning are essential to ensuring their effectiveness.

Keywords: gender, women, rural, Bangladesh, development, cooking, renewable, policy, energy

Topics: Development, Gender, Women, Gender Balance, Gender Mainstreaming, Gendered Power Relations, Gender Equality/Inequality, Households, Infrastructure, Energy Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh

Year: 2019

When the Disaster Strikes: Gendered (Im)mobility in Bangladesh


Ayeb-Karlsson, Sonja. 2020. "When the Disaster Strikes: Gendered (Im)mobility in Bangladesh." Climate Risk Management 29.

Author: Sonja Ayeb-Karlsson


Gender influences people’s behaviour in various ways. This study investigates gendered (im) mobility during cyclone strikes in Bangladesh. During such strikes people have described being unable to move away from environmentally high-risk locations and situations. The Q-based Discourse Analysis used by this study shows how and why gender-roles (im)mobilised people in three coastal locations during the cyclones. People (and especially women) explained that failing to evacuate to the cyclone shelters when a disaster strikes was not uncommon. Gender, or feminine and masculine social roles, played a significant role in these evacuation decisions while facilitating or constraining their mobility. The gendered subjectivities presented different accepted social behaviours and spaces for women and men. In this way, immobility (social, psychological, and geographical) was strongly gendered. Masculine roles were expected to be brave and protective, while female ‘mobility’ could be risky. Women’s mobility therefore ended up being constrained to the home. In other words, when the disaster strikes, everyone did not have the same ability to move. These empirical insights are important to inform climate policy in a way that it better supports vulnerable populations worldwide as they confront global environmental changes today and in the future.

Keywords: disaster, (im)mobility, non-evacuation behaviour, trapped populations

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Masculinity/ies, Gender Roles, Femininity/ies, Households Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh

Year: 2020

Post-Disaster Recovery in the Cyclone Aila Affected Coastline of Bangladesh: Women's Role, Challenges and Opportunities


Alam, Khurshed, and Md. Habibur Rahman. 2019. "Post-Disaster Recovery in the Cyclone Aila Affected Coastline of Bangladesh: Women's Role, Challenges and Opportunities." Natural Hazards 96: 1067-90.

Authors: Khurshed Alam, Md. Habibur Rahman


The present study deals with the gender aspects of water, sanitation and hygiene (WaSH) situation in post-cyclone Aila period in Bangladesh. Data were collected using participatory approaches like individual interview, key informant interview, focus group discussion and field level observation. Study reveals that after Aila, women had to travel 500 m–2 km per day to fetch water from safe water sources spending 30–90 min. People used pit and hanging latrines, uncovered water framed latrines as well as had open defecation. Considering the impromptu needs, government and other aid-giving agencies focused on immediate WaSH programme. The paper is an outcome of a critical assessment of those arduous efforts made to overcome the WaSH challenges after Aila, particularly women’s role in and challenges faced by them to improving the situation. Also attempt has been made to examine the opportunities and challenges of sustainability of WaSH programme pursued in the post-disaster period. For recovery of the WaSH system, a two-part strategy was followed where one was to make technology (tubewell, pond and filter, saline purification and rainwater harvesting plants) that supporting social arrangement and another was social arrangement (group formation, capacity building on construction, operation and maintenance) that supporting technology. A techno-social contingent model has been followed for addressing the post-disaster WaSH situation following a WasH approach. Women’s these roles in meeting the households’ WaSH requirements might be called WaSH-feminism. The main finding is that although there was a technical challenge to overcome the water and sanitation crises, after the disaster a set of appropriate technologies could remove it considerably, but a corresponding social arrangement was required there to operate it. Many kinds of technical and social limiting factors were there for women that could be removed partly but not totally.

Topics: Environment, Environmental Disasters, Feminisms, Gender, Women, Infrastructure, Water & Sanitation Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh

Year: 2019

Women's Empowerment and Crop Diversification in Bangladesh: A Possible Pathway to Climate Change Adaptation and Better Nutrition


De Pinto, Alessandro, Gregory Seymour, Elizabeth Bryan, and Prapti Bhandary. 2019. Women's Empowerment and Crop Diversification in Bangladesh: A Possible Pathway to Climate Change Adaptation and Better Nutrition. 1849. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute.

Authors: Alessandro De Pinto, Gregory Seymour, Elizabeth Bryan, Prapti Bhandary


The existing literature shows that climate change will likely affect several of the dimensions that determine people’s food security status in Bangladesh, from crop production to the availability of food products and their accessibility. Crop diversification represents a farm-level response that reduces exposure to climate-related risks and it has also been shown to increase diet diversity and contribute to the reduction in micronutrient deficiencies. In fact, the Government of Bangladesh has several policies in place that encourage and support agricultural diversification. However, despite this support the level of crop diversification in the country remains low. Women empowerment has been linked to diversified diets and positively associated with better child nutrition outcomes. Furthermore, although traditionally their role in agriculture tends to be undervalued, women involvement has already been shown to affect agricultural production choices and enhance technical efficiency. This paper connects three different areas of inquiry - climate change, gender and nutrition – by exploring whether women’s empowerment in agricultural production leads to increased diversification in the use of farmland. Specifically, we use a series of econometric techniques to evaluate whether there is sufficient evidence to claim that a higher levels of empowerment lead to greater diversity in the allocation of farmland to agricultural crops. Our results reveal that indeed some aspects of women empowerment, but not all, lead to a more diversified use of farmland and to a transition for cereal production to other uses like vegetables and fruits. These findings provide some possible pathways for gender-sensitive interventions that promote crop diversity as a risk management tool and as a way to improve the availability of nutritious crops.

Topics: Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change, Gender, Women, Security, Food Security Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh

Year: 2019

The Role of the Microcredit Program in Women's Empowerment in a Natural Disaster-Prone Area of Bangladesh: A Critical Analysis


Ara, Mst Jesmin. 2019. "The Role of the Microcredit Program in Women's Empowerment in a Natural Disaster-Prone Area of Bangladesh: A Critical Analysis." International Journal of Agriculture and Environmental Research 5 (3).

Author: Mst Jesmin Ara


Natural disasters such as cyclone and flood in the coastal areas of Bangladesh has become a common phenomenon, especially since the last two decades due to the impact of global climate change and global warming. The impacts of natural disasters among the residents of coastal areas are enormous. They face huge financial loss due to the unemployment, deaths of domestic animals, lower crop productions, broken or affected houses, and so on. In addition, they become vulnerable both physically and psychologically during and post-disaster period. However, the impacts of the natural disasters are not the same over men and women. Women become more vulnerable due to their double duties, lack of safety, and for the patriarchal nature of society. The microcredit organizations arguably try to reduce the vulnerabilities of these women by providing short-term loan and also claim to empower them. Therefore, the study emphasizes whether these women are, in reality, becoming empowered. The study was conducted among 384 women who were purposively selected from 6367 households in Southkhali Union, Sarankhola Upazila (sub-district), Bagherhat district, Bangladesh. Results show the overwhelming majority of the participants (90%) were somehow affected by the last natural disaster, either by a cyclone or flood. Regarding the usage of microcredit, the majority of the participants (57%) who are the receivers of microcredit could not use the money independently, as their husbands took the loan from them forcefully. And only 8% of them could invest the microcredit in productive activity such as starting a small business. It is worth noting that 82% of the participants mentioned that their engagement with the microcredit organizations could not change their role in the family, e.g., they could participate in the decision making procedure within the household.

Keywords: natural disaster, empowerment, microcredit, women, Bangladesh

Topics: Environment, Climate Change, Environmental Disasters, Gender, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Households, Livelihoods Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh

Year: 2019

Violence against Women and New Venture Initiation with Microcredit: Self-Efficacy, Fear of Failure, and Disaster Experiences


Shahriar, Abu Zafar M., and Dean A. Shepherd. 2019. "Violence against Women and New Venture Initiation with Microcredit: Self-Efficacy, Fear of Failure, and Disaster Experiences." Journal of Business Venturing 34 (6).

Authors: Abu Zafar M. Shahriar, Dean A. Shepherd


Domestic violence is the most prevalent form of gender-based violence that threatens the wellbeing and dignity of women. In this paper, we examine whether and how exposure to physical or sexual assault by male partners influences women's decision to initiate a new business when they have access to financing. We collected primary data from rural Bangladesh in collaboration with a microfinance institution that provided small collateral-free loans to a group of married women. We conducted a baseline survey before loan disbursement and then conducted a follow-up survey 12 to 15 months later to collect information on loan usage. We find that women who experienced physical or sexual violence by their husband before receiving a loan are less likely to initiate a new business with their loan than those who did not experience such violence. Exposure to domestic violence obstructs the initiation of new businesses through reduced entrepreneurial self-efficacy and increased fear of business failure. The adverse impact of domestic violence is more detrimental for women who recently experienced another potentially traumatic event—an environmental disaster—than for those without such an experience.

Keywords: domestic violence, women's entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial self-efficacy, fear of business failure, environmental disaster, microcredit

Topics: Economies, Domestic Violence, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender-Based Violence, Sexual Violence, SV against Women, Violence Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh

Year: 2019

Gender and Age as Factors in Disaster Vulnerability: A Study of River Erosion Victims in Bogra District, Bangladesh


Akmam, Wardatul, Shubhana Lina Hasin, and Md. Fakrul Islam. 2020. "Gender and Age as Factors in Disaster Vulnerability: A Study of River Erosion Victims in Bogra District, Bangladesh." In Environmental Economics and Computable General Equilibrium Analysis, edited by John R. Madden, Hiroyuki Shibusawa, and Yoshio Higano, 395-414. Singapore: Springer Singapore.

Authors: Wardatul Akmam, Shubhana Lina Hasin, Md. Fakrul Islam


This study endeavors to measure the vulnerability of individuals to the erosion of Jamuna River in two unions (Kornibari and Kutubpur) within Sariakandi Upazila of Bogra district, Bangladesh and discover the factors that are associated with such vulnerability. The data were collected from 218 respondents using social survey methods, who were selected purposively in order to represent different age groups (e.g., 13–19 years, 20–40 years, 41–60 years, and more than 60 years) and the two genders (male and female). SPSS and Microsoft Excel software have been used for processing and analyzing data. Individual was the unit of analysis. Vulnerability level of each of the respondents has been calculated. Findings show that on the basis of the model and indicators used in this study to calculate vulnerability, 76.1% of the respondent riverbank erosion victims belonged to the “more vulnerable” group assuming a value between 0–1 and 23.9% to the “less vulnerable” group assuming a value between -1 and 0. Chi-square test results reveal a significant association between the level of vulnerability and age, being solvent, family income, having access to financial institutions, getting the help of neighbors, having completed at least 5 years of schooling, having sources of income other than agriculture and having experienced erosion more than once. However, gender was not found to be significantly associated with vulnerability.

Keywords: disaster, vulnerability, factors associated with vulnerability, gender, age, riverbank erosion victim, exposure, adaptive capacity, sensitivity

Topics: Age, Economies, Education, Environment, Environmental Disasters, Gender Regions: Asia, South Asia Countries: Bangladesh

Year: 2020


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