Infrastructure is of vital importance for development. Large-scale infrastructure projects, however, if developed without careful attention to impacts on the environment and communities, carry severe risks of mass impoverishment, permanent loss of livelihoods, violent conflict and human rights violations, as well as irreversible environmental damage. The latter includes the destruction of forests, biodiversity, coastal areas and river systems, as well as massive greenhouse gas emissions. This causes irreparable harm to women, children, and men in the affected communities, including indigenous peoples.
The impacts of ill-conceived large-scale infrastructure projects on women can be especially pernicious and are often irreversible. This occurs, for example, by eliminating women’s farming and fishing livelihoods, while employment in construction and office jobs is almost exclusively limited to men. This increases women’s dependence on men, often driving women and young girls into sex work out of economic desperation. The rampant spread of sexually-transmitted infections, human trafficking and violence against women and children are also part of this dismal picture.
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