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Making Urban Development Work for Women, Too!

March 23, 2017

Strategic investments in urban infrastructure have the potential to close gender gaps and open up opportunities for women in Asia. Despite enormous gains in recent years, many of the infrastructure projects remain gender blind.

Understanding this need and the catalytic role of women in urban development, CDIA promotes gender equality in its processes and activities in line with its Gender Strategy and Action Plan.

“Gender considerations have always been high on the agenda of CDIA,” said Eva Ringhof, Social Development Specialist and focal person on gender. “Whether for project preparatory studies (PPS) or capacity development activities, we make sure that women are not only beneficiaries but also active players in planning and decision making. We want to make sure that no one is left behind,” she added.

CDIA supports infrastructure investments with inclusive design features that pay attention to gender. In 2016 five projects from the Philippines and Vietnam are expected to improve health and hygiene especially for women and children. Some other interventions will ensure better access to education and lead to enhanced livelihood opportunities including women and disabled people. See graph here.

To date, CDIA has implemented infrastructure and services that are improving the lives of all; and some women have these to say:

“Now we are getting very good water, without contamination. Health is very important for us. Our hope is that we should always have this kind of service and everybody should get this,” said Varsha Motaghare, a resident of Yamuna Nagar in Pimpri India, where the 24×7 water supply project was piloted. CDIA prepared its pre-feasibility study (PFS) in 2012.

“When we used to travel in vans, especially for women [it was difficult] because there was no respect. With the Metro, the environment has completely changed,” said Fatma Butt, a Medical Student and passenger of Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metrobus in Pakistan, a bus rapid transit system, which CDIA helped to plan in 2012.

Apart from gender mainstreaming in project planning and implementation, CDIA itself pursues and supports gender equality within the organization with a relatively balanced workforce of 47% females and 53% males as of December 2016. Further, CDIA’s capacity development activities with city partners, and national and regional partner organizations often serve as platforms for discussing social issues of which gender is a central one.

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