Gender equality, equity and social inclusion are important cross-cutting research themes within the ReCAP programme. Rural transport infrastructure and transport services can have significantly different impacts on men and women and many interventions in rural transport appear to be inclined to the needs of men. ReCAP launched the Gender Mainstreaming research initiative in 2015 with the aim of increasing the body of evidence for improving policy formulation and practices on gender mainstreaming in transport. The initiative comprised seven projects, exploring aspects of gender mainstreaming in relation to rural transport in different ReCAP partner countries, comprising Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nepal.
Through a consultative process four research themes were developed, all to be studied within the rural transport sector:
Transformative impact of gender mainstreaming at household, community and national levels.
Transformative impact of gender mainstreaming within rural transport institutions.
Potential for gender-focused rural transport initiatives be scaled-up and 'mainstreamed'.
Methodologies, analytical frameworks and indicators to monitor effective gender mainstreaming.
The research projects revolve around trying to understand why gender mainstreaming progress to date has so often been slow in the rural transport sector, despite national commitments to gender-sensitive planning and practice. The gender mainstreaming cluster characterises persistent themes which are evident on the ground in diverse country contexts, for instance women's time constraints (often including unpaid care work) that prevent their active participation in road construction and associated skills training; women's lack of voice in key decision-making processes; inadequate monitoring of national gender mainstreaming regulations in transport projects; lack of women in technical and policy roles in the sector where they might offer strong role models; the perception that transport services operations are a male domain unsuited to women; women's lack of resources to pay transport fares; and concerns about male harassment when travelling.
The projects have all been finalised and have provided fascinating and useful lessons for the rural transport sector at the national levels. Combining all the research lessons within a special volume of a peer-reviewed journal, currently under preparation, will lead to important wider international impacts of this research. Publication of the journal articles is foreseen for 2019.
A key conclusion from the research cluster was the general lack of capacity to use gender as a framework in transport policy, planning, regulation, and performance monitoring, as well as in infrastructure design, management and improvement. A subsequent project to develop Guidelines for Mainstreaming Gender in Rural Transport was commissioned in order to produce illustrative practical guidelines, drawing on lessons learnt and good practices from the seven research projects.
ReCAP Gender Mainstreaming initiative comprises the following projects. Outputs can be downloaded straight from the last column of the table.