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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Gender egalitarianism and infrastructure: Gender bias in infrastructure influencing national development outcomes

Infrastructure encompasses the services and physical assets of a society that safeguard and facilitate the necessities of everyday life. Whilst a variation in social systems exist in the world, patriarchy is omnipresent in developing countries. It is associated with socially constructed gender roles and biological determinants that can create a disparity between how both genders utilise and benefit infrastructure. It can, therefore, be argued that equity in infrastructure hinges on how a society makes infrastructure-led decisions that account for the difference in needs. As defined in a patriarchal society, the role and status of a woman is subordinate to a man; this concept is then reflected in the role they play within the community. It is often agreed that disregarding the needs of women across social arrangements, can decrease social protection coverage – raising safety concerns. If women are left weakened or defenceless due to inequitable allocation of resources, the domain of work that relies on the prosperity of women will be subject to social and economic failure. It has been noted previously national development that is dependent on social, economic, and environmental sustainability will then also suffer the negative consequences. The urgency to establish equity in infrastructure, safeguarding women and fostering national development, has been further accelerated by the disproportionate impacts of climate change currently facing developing nations.

This thesis aims to determine how equity in both soft and hard infrastructure across education and healthcare systems impacts the growth of developing nations; whether women are weakened and to the extreme unsafe due to issues in infrastructure than that of cultural embeddedness. During the literature review, three levers were established and assessed against patriarchal societies: strengthening the female voice in decision-making processes, accessibility, and gender-inclusive procurement in infrastructure.



Course Overview


The need to engage in better problem definition through careful dialogue with all stakeholder groups and a proper recognition of context.


An ability to work with specialists from other disciplines and professional groups acknowledging that technical innovation and business skills also must be understood, nurtured and combined as precursors to the successful implementation of sustainable solutions.


An understanding of mechanisms for managing change in organisations so future engineers are equipped to play a leadership role.


An awareness of a range of assessment frameworks, sustainability metrics and methodologies such as Life Cycle Analysis, Systems Dynamics, Multi-Criteria Decision making and Impact Assessment.