This presentation undertook a high-level comparative analysis of the cultural and legal issues surrounding women’s access to urban public space in South versus Southeast Asia. Specifically, reference was made to the cases of India, Thailand, and the Philippines, which brought diverse legal traditions and cultural issues to the fore.
Women's Access to Public Space in Asia
- Start11:30 AM - Jan 27 2016
- End12:30 PM - Jan 27 2016
- Asia Platform, Rue de la Loi 26, 10th Floor, B-1000 Brussels
11:30-11:40 Introduction by the Chair
Prof Olivier Arifon, Senior Associate, EIAS
Dr. Gisele Yasmeen, Senior Fellow, Institute of Asian Research, University of British Columbia
Women’s Access to Public Space in Asia: India, Thailand and Philippines in Comparative Perspective
This presentation will undertake a high-level comparative analysis of the cultural and legal issues surrounding women’s access to urban public space in South versus Southeast Asia. Specifically, reference will be made to the cases of India, Thailand, and the Philippines, which bring diverse legal traditions and cultural issues to the fore. India has a federal legal framework with a modified Westminster tradition. The Philippines absorbs American, Spanish and local influences and Thailand combines civil law with a tradition of authoritarian rule in the context of ostensibly being a constitutional democracy. The patterns with respect to women’s access to public space for various purposes – specifically as street vendors – are interesting to compare in all three countries. Whereas Southeast Asian women, particularly in Thailand and the Philippines have “culturally sanctioned” access to public space as both micro entrepreneurs and consumers, Indian women, especially in the north compared to the south, traditionally do not which has led to a different path toward access to public space for their livelihoods. This has included legal challenges and grass roots mobilisation initiatives such as the Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) and the National Association of Street Vendors of India (NASVI). India has also developed approaches leading devolution of power through legislation such as India’s “Development of Women and Children in Urban Areas” (DWCUA) scheme. The Philippines exhibits examples of political and economic strategies such as the creation of the Cebu City United Vendors Association (CCUVA) and the registration of Filipino vendors with the securities and exchange commission.