By Felipe Orozco , Daniel Elizondo; HEC Paris
With Carlos Moreno, Scientific Director, “Entrepreneurship, Territory, Innovation” – Panthéon Sorbonne University, Paty Rios, Research and Latin America Lead, Happy City, Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University
In this round table, work methodologies and vivid testimonies addressed the situation of women in the city and the need to include a gender perspective for the better development of an inclusive and supportive urban environment for women.
Cities converge towards new paradigms in the face of current challenges. But not all women have access to these platforms. It is very important to capture the voice of women to advise city-level projects that promote health and well-being in the design of public spaces and housing.
Beyond a work of urban planning, the change can start by small actions, for example, something as simple as sitting at the same table to women and men so that both participate, generated a sense of empowerment to a group of female officials in a developing country. The small changes that make women feel heard transform life in the city to generate equity.
The great challenge is to move from transitory and formal solutions to background solutions. From rethinking the capacity to public toilets, to go beyond separating men and women in different wagons, measures are needed that consider the point of view of women, solutions that are built from below and that approach public decisions and policies truly inclusive.
The Space-City is a complex system, open to transformations in which all the good and the hand of the human being is presented. It is a space in which inequality will naturally exist and which requires an Ethics of the City that allows to integrate inequality and justice.
In this context women can contribute with projects that give voice to women, from girls to grandmothers. 40 years ago the world was made up of 30% urban and 70%, today 80% is urban and 20% rural. This economic and cultural transformation presents a growing challenge. Cities have historically been built by and for men, only in Paris 3% of streets are named after a woman.
As we have designed the cities so far it is not possible to reach a gender balance. An example is the lack of solutions for the different needs of single mothers. There are no urban spaces that meet the requirements of work, attention and time for the care of their children. This makes it necessary to think about solutions that allow having collective spaces to provide opportunities and equity in front of other citizens.
Migration is an urban phenomenon that has also had an impact on gender disparity. In many cases it has its origin in economic need and results in precariousness and degradation of the potential of women according to their profession. The cases of women in the world who have a degree of education are known and, when they migrate, they work in jobs that are not in accordance with it. This diminishes their confidence, limits their development, and generates a feeling of personal insecurity to take a next step.
To this lack of security and confidence is added the conception of physical security, it is not only to be safe, but to feel safe. The perception of security must be considered and goes beyond surveillance; Security cameras, doors, locks, lights, are not enough to generate this feeling. Beyond improving the conditions of public safety, it is vital to consider in urban transformation elements that allow women to feel safe.
The challenge is not only to understand the city, but to improve the quality of life of women in them and to achieve this it is necessary to incorporate a true gender vision in its conception, planning and development to change historical paradigms and achieve a true urban space of equity.
This article is part of a series on #WFAmericas. Watch the full session on YouTube.