Women and men live and use cities in very different ways. Yet, in many cases, urban planning and policies do not take these differences into consideration – leading to exclusion and lost opportunity for both women and society in general. Women make up half the world’s population yet represent 70 per cent of the world’s poor. (Source: The Global Poverty Project)

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development re-validates the central importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment on the global level. It asserts gender equality not only as a fundamental human right, but as a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. 

There is no question gender equality is one of the more challenging aspects of the 2030 Agenda.  Of all the issues addressed by the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), social, economic and political differentiation based on gender is the most entrenched and universal. And women, who often carry the greatest burdens in development, are generally the last to benefit from its dividends. 

Cities Alliance believes strongly that women are sources of positive and transformational change in cities, and as a partnership we are committed to helping make this change happen. 

For us, the issue of gender is closely linked to citizenship. Everything the city does, such as in the delivery of services, affects people differently. How can we design the city in such a way that it is gender friendly, all the way from vision to infrastructure and services? How do services affect women? 

Answering these questions becomes difficult when there is little investment in infrastructure and services.  However, no matter how limited resources are, it can be done better. When we design basic infrastructure, we involve gender and ask if there are differences in how men and women use a service. For example, the Community Upgrading Funds undertaken through our Country Programmes put gender at the centre. As a result, they serve women better.