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Online discussion: Paving the way to gender equality: gender perspectives for inclusive urban mobility
15 August 2016 @ 12:00 am
Wikigender is hosting an online discussion ”Paving the way to gender equality: gender perspectives for inclusive urban mobility” from Monday, 15 to Friday, 19 August, with partners UN-Habitat, Women in Cities International and the OECD Development Centre’s Gender Team.
Urbanisation is often cited as a driver of increased mobility and subsequently communities’ access to goods and services. However, research has shown that women and men do not benefit equally from the expanded opportunities of cities. Instead, gender-blind urban planning and restrictive social norms curtail women’s and girls’ freedom of movement and hold back their access to empowerment pathways promised in urban environments. In an effort to further this debate and identify solutions, Wikigender (www.wikigender.org) is organising an online discussion on the theme of women’s and girls’ urban mobility.
New literature by researchers and development actors is uncovering the ways in which gender shapes lived realities in urban settings. Women and girls experience multiple mobility constraints including inferior access to both public and private means of transportation. In many cities, gender-blind public transportation fails to respond to the needs of women and girls who are more likely to travel off-peak times, link multiple trips and travel with children. Women and girls also face concerns around their safety and are more vulnerable to the perceived and real threat of violence than men when taking public transportation, walking or waiting for transit. Issues around accessibility and safety can deter women and girls from accessing public spaces, seeking education end economic opportunities and receiving healthcare. Ensuring women’s voices are heard in conversations on urban planning is all the more difficult as they are often underrepresented in local government and the transportation sector, and thus less likely to be included in decision-making processes.
Due to the gendered nature of urban transportation and mobility, policies that aim to promote sustainable and inclusive urban growth must stem from a gender-responsive standpoint. The 2030 Agenda provides a new framework to support this through SDG 5 (Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls) and 11 (Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable). In addition a “New Urban Agenda” will be defined in October at the UN Summit on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development, Habitat III, setting the course for urban practitioners, stakeholders and leaders alike. The 2030 Agenda and Habitat III are exciting opportunities for the gender and development communities to scale up gender-sensitive programming and promote inclusive urban planning.
Building on this momentum, the Wikigender online discussion will be an opportunity for a solutions-oriented debate on gender and urban mobility. Participants are invited to exchange on the constraints to women’s and girls’ urban mobility and promising initiatives of “what works” in urban planning and transportation. From the 15 to 19 August, the discussion will bring together UN-Habitat, Women in Cities International (WICI) and the OECD Development Centre as well as Céline Monnier from the International Centre of the Prevention of Crime, and Kalpana Viswanath from Safetipin. Members of Wikigender’s online community will be able to participate in the discussion and exchange with experts, on the website and on Twitter.
Please see Guiding Questions for the Discussion.