A recently published briefing from Jamie Skinner of IIED and Director of Capacity Building at FutureDAMS examines the gender implications of resettlement following large hydropower projects.

The briefing summarises the evidence, identifies best practices and highlights a number of real world examples:

“Following a review of existing policies and outcomes of resettlement approaches for large hydropower dams, we suggest how incorporating the gendered dimension of resettlement can improve these policies to help women and men successfully restore their livelihoods. Large hydropower projects often force communities from their traditional lands when reservoirs flood and homes and their surroundings are submerged.


Even where compensation and resettlement are well designed, plans and legislation tend to be gender blind. Often, these plans do not recognise the different roles of men and women in the household, and do not benefit each group equally. The ways compensation payments are made, and involuntary resettlement is managed, tend to reinforce some roles and diminish others. Hydropower projects should seek to empower and support both men and women’s livelihoods simultaneously to achieve successful resettlement outcomes.”

In conclusion, the briefing highlights that:

“Without a gendered approach, livelihood restoration neglects 50% of the household production unit. To fully mobilise the potential for livelihood restoration and development, resettlement plans need to recognise the complexity and nuances of men and women’s roles in the household and their respective economic contributions. Careful gender analysis must be carried out to avoid reinforcing existing inequalities and adding to practices that can subordinate women further. Assets lost during resettlement must be properly compensated as these are the foundation for each gender developing and investing in new productive activities and successfully re-establishing their livelihoods.”

Download the full 4 page gender briefing here.

Photo: World Bank, creative commons
Note: This article gives the views of the author/academic featured and does not represent the views of FutureDAMS as a whole.
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