The first article is a general overview of gender-related issues to consider when planning a project, while the second points out general concerns when including women in the process with a focus on economic development considerations.
Women are the primary consumers of shelter yet they are in a disadvantaged position with respect to acquiring shelter (Sorock, et. al. 3). To mitigate this problem, project design should address the obstacles women face in finding access to shelter. Some of these obstacles include:
Therefore, the following policies are suggested:
1 - Make Housing More Affordable
2 - Create Employment Opportunities
3 - Provide Outreach
4 - Recognize Cultural Factors
Steps to Take in a Project
Before embarking on a project, one must consider a number of factors when planning upgrading projects. For example:
Things to Keep in mind
Women around the globe are encouraged/taught to confirm the males masculinity. The womans place in society is a notion used to safeguard mens dominant role in society. When a woman steps out of this subservient role, she endangers the males identity. For instance, when a woman joins a community group, she risks being humiliated, beaten and abused by [her] husband or father.
Gender-sensitive urban partnerships have to recognize the different approaches that women and men adopt in organization, negotiation, and planning as a result of their socialization and experience of public life, and change their organizational practice accordingly. (Sweetman 15)
To ensure 'participation as empowerment,' therefore, it is important that women in organisations of civil society, such as NGOs and community-based organizations, are not only involved in community management, self-help, and service provision, but also have the opportunity for personal self-development, campaigning, and advocacy. (Sweetman 14)
Policy and planning with a gender perspective can be learnt. It does not depend on the sex of the urban practitioner, but on the perspective he or she adopts (Sweetmen 15)
Women have the right to live in a neighborhood as owners of their own houses, without the threat of eviction. This can be ensured by making it possible for women to be the legal owners of their property.
Planning Policies and Programs
1 - In order to incorporate women's demands into the formulation of State policies, it is not enough to obtain and compile criteria from women's organizations. The extent to which those expressed demands may have been induced by the State itself, or by private development agencies, and may not therefore truly reflect the women's true aspirations, must be evaluated.
2 - The State should not attempt to solve all the problems identified by women, but should limit itself to those that have the greatest impact on a number of other aspects of social and economic life. The need to define priorities carefully arises from the fact that the State has limited resources which should not be dissipated in numerous ineffectual actions. State paternalism should also be avoided. Women's organizations must search for their own solutions, on the basis of their own alternatives and initiatives. The State should in many areas be responsible for only providing enabling conditions, of which the most important is respect for grassroots initiatives.
3 - It is easier to identify the problems low-income women face than to find adequate solutions, because particular social and economic problems are part of a general socio-economic structure and cannot therefore be solved by isolated actions. Planners must visualize particular problems within their global context, and avoid the sectoralisation of policy; their proposals should be integrated into a general development.
4 - Careful thought should be given to the appropriateness of defining policies specifically for women as if they constituted a particular sector within social planning. An alternative is to promote women's active and even privileged participation in policies within integrated development planning, particularly those which have to do with the satisfaction of basic needs and with overcoming structural obstacles of development.
5 - Women of the popular sectors, be they urban or rural, give priority to the satisfaction of basic needs, particularly those relating to health and nutrition. To the extent that a basic needs development strategy necessarily probes into the causes of poverty and marginalisation, women's participation in this area makes them strategic agents in the process of society-wide social transformation.
6 - In the design of policy, the question is not how women's integration in the formal sector can be increased, but what the modalities of their actual incorporation are. Statistics do not adequately reflect women's very significant involvement in the informal sector of the economy. Planners should carefully examine the stages and sectors of the formal and informal production processes in which women are actually incorporated, a well as their conditions of work, in order to formulate policies and programs that truly respond to women's needs.
7 - The State must recognize that women in the informal sector are less organized than those in the formal sector. The former therefore have less opportunity to express their demands to the State. Ignoring this may lead to defining policies mainly relevant to formal sector workers and may not reflect the needs and expectations of the majority of women who are in the informal sector.
8 - Non-formal educational programs directed towards women should not only contemplate training in various skills, they should also help dispel the ideological and cultural veil that sanctions traditional roles for women and that justifies forms of oppression, subordination and exploitation.
9 - Women's identification of traditional activities, such as dressmaking, like others for which they demand the State's assistance in the form of training, credit, etc., responds to their daily experience, but also denotes difficulty in overcoming traditional norms and roles. The planner and policy maker should not take these expressed demands at face value, but understand instead that they reveal a desire for change and improvement. The development of a more critical attitude and the search for true alternatives should be supported to probe below the surface of spontaneously expressed demands.
10 - In defining non-formal educational programmes linked to income-generating projects, due account should be taken of women's ability to learn new technical skills and knowledge, given their low educational level. Consideration should also be given to the conflicts that may develop between the requirements of a market-oriented productive activity and the other functions which women are inevitably called upon to perform and which relate to the familys reproduction and cohesion. Otherwise, it is possible that training and income-generating projects may intensify rather than reduce women's oppression and two-fold exploitation.
11 - In the design of income-generating projects, the following points should be considered: