Women in Urbanization
By admin March 17, 2017

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Urban population is growing. In 2014, it accounted for 54 percent of the total global population, up from 34 percent in 1960. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), urban population growth is concentrated in the less-developed regions of the world. It is estimated that a majority of people will be living in urban areas by 2017. Along with increasing urban population comes challenges to those who live in urban area, women in particular. Because there is a higher proportion of women within the urban population overall, and a concentration of women-headed households in urban centers. Besides, women will continue to make up the majority of people living in poverty. Therefore, it is important that sustainable development ensures a roadmap for sustainable cities and highlights gender equality.

Urbanization, as defined by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), is the proportion of the total population living in areas classed as urban. It reflects transformations in national economies, with growing numbers of people moving away from employment in agriculture and into industry and service sectors, and in the process increasing their productivity. As such, urbanization has improved the way people work and live, and provided opportunities for higher living standards, life expectancy, better environment, and education. For women, urbanization can transform their lives as it is closely related to greater access to employment opportunities and lower fertility levels. Women also play a key role in sustainable urban cities through their paid and unpaid labor as primary caregivers in households.

However, women are faced with challenges in the process of urbanization. For example, women are often in a disadvantaged position when competing in labor market. It is also hard for them to gain equal access to education, healthcare as well as assets. Moreover, sexual violence and other forms of violence restricts women’s freedom and benefits from urbanization. Therefore, it is vital to create a gender sensitive space in urban area.

Last year in October, the New Urban Agenda was adopted by world leaders at the Habitat III Conference. The Agenda sets a new global standard for sustainable urban development and aims to serve as a guidance to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). An important promise is to ensure that all citizens have access to equal opportunities and face no discrimination. The New Urban Agenda calls on city authorities to take into account the needs of women and other vulnerable groups in the society. At the event on women’s role in the implementation of the New Urban Agenda, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed emphasized the vital role of women in shaping growth of cities. “While cities are powerful engines of development and innovation, they are also home to slums and many millions of vulnerable women and girls. We should not only focus on the needs of women and girls, but also empower women to deliver on their potential.” Women have been making important contributions to better cities. Highlighting women’s role will ultimately benefit everyone and promotes the development of prosperous, resilient, and inclusive cities.


Read more:

Putting gender equality at the heart of the New Urban Agenda

Urbanization: A double-edged sword for women

Gender Equality and Sustainable Urbanisation

Urbanization, gender and urban poverty: Paid work and unpaid carework in the city

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