Gender Based Insecurity and Mobility in Cities

This project, funded by and in partnership with Concern Worldwide, will proceed in two phases. This first phase consists of qualitative research in the three cities of Dhaka, Addis Ababa and Port-au-Prince to learn more about the gender based violence and perceptions of insecurity faced by the urban poor and the impacts on their lives. The second phase will consist of surveys in these three cities to measure this impact. The work has just begun! Please stay tuned for updates, photos and blog entries from our team in the field.



Blog Post 1

The street was already flooded when we arrived at the Pavement Dweller Center in southern Dhaka at 9 am. Throughout the following three hours we spent talking with a group of women from a nearby slum, we kept a watchful eye on the road as heavy rain pounded the metal roof above us. As our discussion came to an end, we realized we had to leave, already fearful that we might have waited too long and our van would flood on the hour-long ride back to the hotel.

So we left early. We collected our things, said thank you to our hosts and the women who spent the morning with us, and splashed into the van. We sacrificed lunch and lost our afternoon key informant interview, but we made it back to the hotel safely. This is the exact type of risk analysis we are researching in Dhaka, except our focus is on gender-based insecurity in slum areas.

Bangladesh is the first of three countries we are visiting in collaboration with Concern Worldwide. We are using a mix of traditional and art-based qualitative methods to understand the types of violence women, children, and men experience in slums, the ways in which they cope with that violence, and how the threat of violence impacts their lives.

Women overall felt there was no place where they are safe. They described a wide range of physical and mental violence they experience on a daily basis, from eve teasing and online bullying to rape and murder. Men largely focused on the threat of armed robbery. All felt largely helpless to respond directly, as that would risk an escalation of violence, or seek assistance from others, like the police, because of their weak position in society.

From Bangladesh, we head to Ethiopia and then Haiti later in the fall.