Gender and Ethnicity on Nicaragua’s Mosquito Coast
Published: Thursday, 26 Apr 2012
A team of researchers from MSU was recently awarded a grant from the NSF Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems program to study the impact of a new road connecting Managua, the capital of Nicaragua, with Pearl Lagoon, a previously remote area of the country. The study will monitor the flow of people, technology and markets, along with the resulting impacts on the natural systems in which the people reside.
According to Andrea Allen, associate director of the Center for Advanced Study of International
Development, who also serves as co-primary investigator, community residents will likely be affected differently, depending not only on their ethnicity, but also on their distance from the road, their current access to resources and their gender. Women of indigenous or Afro-Caribbean heritage are often subjected to what is frequently called “triple discrimination” as women, as indigenous individuals and as poor people.
As many as 79 percent of those living along Nicaragua’s Atlantic coast live below the poverty line, with women holding only 21 percent of the jobs. Whether the road and subsequent economic development will alleviate the situation remains to be seen.