Investigating Gender Based Insecurity & Mobility: Formative Qualitative Research in Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Haiti

from Concern Worldwide, Harvard University
Published on 28 Feb 2018 View Original


Rapid urbanization is the most significant demographic shift taking place. By the year 2050, it is predicted that 70% of the world population will be urban. The urban poor live in a state of chronic crisis and reside in extremely dense informal settlements without basic infrastructure or services. High levels of insecurity are of particular concern. Due to their unofficial status, density, high concentrations of poverty and, often, high turnover, urban informal settlements are either extremely difficult to police or effectively remain un-policed and ungoverned. While all residents of urban informal settlements face significant insecurity and susceptibility to violent crimes, women are especially vulnerable.

Gaps in Knowledge

Women bear the brunt of this insecurity and find their mobility limited. Gender-based violence (GBV) refers to events of violence under various definitions. These range from verbal and emotional abuse to physical violence and sexual assault. But only looking at each event of violence leads to an incomplete understanding of how gender-based insecurity (GBI) impacts urban women. Even without an actual violent event, they face environments marked by enough insecurity that the sense of fear may have significant impacts. This insecurity may impact them in a myriad of different ways. Anecdotally, many women identify insecurity as the reason they are unable to seek care for illness, access social networks such as church groups, visit specific markets, take employment in certain areas or even use the toilet at night. Given their role as mothers and caretakers, this limitation can have further effects on child health and development. The general level of insecurity, the sources and types of insecurity and their effects are not well measured among women living in insecure urban informal settlements and likely represents a large undocumented burden.