Headlines and Head-space: Challenging Gender Planning
Publication Date: Jun 2003
Attitudes and political commitment are more important than tools and techniques in ensuring gender is mainstreamed. This is the conclusion of a study of a highly acclaimed urban development project in Cato Manor, Durban, South Africa. This paper questions a dominant assumption of gender planning: that an explicit gender focus needs to be maintained in development projects. Although the project design was largely devoid of compulsory gender headlines and checklists, significant attention was paid during implementation to the differential needs and voices of women and men. This led to outcomes, many of which were consistent with some of the prescriptions of gender planning and with gender sensitive urban development. However, the Cato Manor experience may not be replicable in other contexts. What is needed is both gender planning tools and a political commitment to gendered social justice and democratic planning and management, with planners and managers working together with activists and advocates.