This article offers conceptual and political perspectives on gender and development induced displacement. By drawing on examples from India, China and other parts of the world, it shows how displaced women are often caught in a double bind with male and gender biases negatively affecting their lives and livelihoods.
These often perpetuate gender inequality in terms of unequal resource allocation and distribution and also legitimize the silencing of women’s interests. Furthermore, biases within state institutions, structures and policies also perpetuate societal inequalities.
While in some cases, the social change brought about by displacement can lead to a radical reordering of social relations that challenge earlier gendered norms and restriction, in most cases, resettlement and rehabilitation (R and R) programmes have largely failed to make conscious efforts to minimize the loss and traumas encountered by displacement processes, let alone include equity considerations in their activities. In order to achieve gender justice, it is thus important to resort to emancipatory politics that can push for a greater realization of the rights of displaced people and for prior and informed consent.