Global Resources

Urban Governance: Why Gender Matters

Author: J. Beall
Publisher: Global Development Research Centre
Publication Date: Jan 1996
Women's views are rarely taken into account in urban planning processes. Yet women's needs and interests differ from men's in relation to services such as transport and health, and infrastructure. Policymakers and planners, therefore, need to take a more gender-sensitive approach so that women's needs and interests are addressed and women are included in these decision-making processes. A gender-sensitive approach to urban governance has two principal objectives: to increase women's participation in human settlements development; and to foster gender awareness and build capacity so that women can effectively participate in these processes. Changes in organisational culture and operational procedures are also needed to enable greater understanding of the need to make urban planning more gender aware. Efforts are also needed to overcome obstacles to women's involvement in public life, such as a lack of confidence or skills and the burden of multiple responsibilities. In addition, planners should acknowledge that men and women are often from diverse situations and backgrounds, even though they may have particular shared needs or interests.