Master Resilience Improves Gender Equality in Mexico City

Water scarcity is a real problem in Mexico City, and due to existing gender inequality women bare the brunt of the costs of a lack of water. This manifests itself in everything from laundry to buying potable water, both are time consuming endeavours in places with water scarcity. Mexico City launched a program a few years ago to naturalize rain water collection while also enhancing their rain barrel water collection for homes. These changes combined have had a very positive impact on water usage and gender equality in the city.

The program helps install rainwater harvesting systems, which capture the rain that falls on roofs of houses. Water is stored in a cistern, which can then be used for domestic purposes. It can also be used as drinking water if given additional treatment. These systems can provide a family with water for between five to eight months of the year.

By prioritizing households headed by women, single mothers, indigenous people, older adults and people with disabilities, the program aims to improve equity across the board. To date, more than 13,000 female heads of household have benefited — comprising around 65% of installed rainwater harvesting systems.

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Ending the Gender Gap in Transportation

There is a gender gap in our cities and it’s all thanks to car-centric design. Everybody knows that cars destroy urban centers and cause a lot of harm to public health. but you may not have thought of the impact cars have on gender. As cities look to modernize themselves by returning streets to people they need to also think about how different people use transportation in the city. Part time workers are more likely to be women and that often means more trips per day than their typical male counterparts. Designing cities through a gendered lens means that the city can accommodate multiple modes of transportation beyond the male-dominated rush hour.

“The discussion on inclusive mobility is gathering steam,” said Ricarda Lang, deputy chair of the German Green party. “Feminism is not a stand-alone topic, but a perspective that we also apply in the area of urban development and mobility.”

The issue is more complex than cars versus bikes. In some cities, women cycle less, likely because lanes aren’t wide or secure enough, especially with kid carriers — underscoring the importance of transport design. But there’s no denying car-centric systems face strain.

Numerous grassroot initiatives are demanding restrictions on personal vehicles. One of the most radical is in Berlin, where activists are pushing for a referendum that would all but eliminate private autos in the inner city in favor of walking, cycling and public transport.

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A Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for Canada

The economy isn’t performing too well right now thanks to years of thoughtless growth followed by the hit of COVID-19. The people most hurt by the COVID-19 crisis are the most vulnerable. It’s been widely reported on how women have lost a lot of gains made in the workplace as the “traditional” household roles are now being put back on them. We can do better, and we know how to do better than this.

The previous decade of growth was made at the expense of the environment and people’s wellbeing, the current reboot of the economy doesn’t need to be thoughtless. This time around we can generate economic growth that includes everybody.

YWCA Canada and The Institute for Gender and the Economy at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management have partnered to create a Feminist Economic Recovery Plan for Canada, which proposes a new path forward for Canada’s economy – one that focuses on changing the structures and barriers that have made some groups more vulnerable to the pandemic and its fallout than others. The report highlights 8 pillars for recovery with a focus on supporting the care economy, investing in social infrastructure and supporting women-owned businesses.

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Gender Inclusive Design for our Built Environment

Architects generally want people to feel comfortable around their buildings or interior spaces; however, architects aren’t perfect and may overlook some simple design solutions that can put people at ease. The World Bank Group has released a handbook for urban planners, architects, and anybody shaping our physical environment to use when making (or renovating) spaces. The handbook is all about designing for all genders and ensuring that the built environment is useful and welcoming to all regardless of their gender.

Urban planning and design quite literally shape the environment around us — and that environment, in turn, shapes how we live, work, play, move, and rest. This handbook aims to illuminate the relationships between gender inequality, the built environment, and urban planning and design; and to lay out a menu of simple, practicable processes and best practices for urban planning and design projects that build more inclusive cities – for men and women, for those with disabilities, and for those who are marginalized and excluded.

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Men Shouldn’t Worry About Being Breadwinners

Gender stereotypes and expectations aren’t good for anybody, and there’s more and more evidence that men who worry about having to be the primary income earners hurts their health. The old way of thinking that a man had to earn more than his partner in a heterosexual relationship no longer makes sense. Thanks to the efforts of countless individuals there are fewer obstacles for women to make as much, if not more, than their male counterparts.

She attributes that to gender performances that cloud our judgment. Men are taught to see breadwinning as an obligation; women to see it more as an opportunity. Women are less likely to dwell on what other people will think of them if they aren’t the primary source of income, while men feel the need to take on higher-paying positions, even when the role might just be an anxiety-inducing, taxing, stressful experience.

Of course, generalizations like that reinforce the gender binary at the root of this, but in service of understanding the flaws in that conceptualization.

“I would encourage men to feel more free to ask, ‘Do I really need to do this? Do we need this extra money?’” she said. “I think women are more likely to ask themselves that.”

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Thanks to Delaney!

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