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Realizing Gender Equality in Cities

A Guidance Note for Development Practitioners

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Cities Alliance

15 June 2019

Cities Alliance


uKESA Librarian 3

Guide/ Handbook

Uruguay, Thailand, South Africa, India, Costa Rica, Colombia, Bangladesh

Experiences of living, working and socializing in the same city can vary according to gender. Gender inequality is exacerbated for individuals belonging to lower-income groups, discriminated racial/ethnic groups, or if they are disabled. Despite these different realities, it continues to be the norm that gender is rarely considered in the planning and management of cities.

Policies that do not explicitly consider and address the role of gender are typically ineffective, exclusionary and likely to fail city and citizens alike. The default reality is that policies, customs and practices covertly discriminate against women throughout the world, limiting their opportunities and rights. Economic discrimination manifested in less access to work and lower wages for women leads to a loss in purchasing power, social status and persistent poverty. Gender mainstreaming – more cities promoting gender equality - is a globally-accepted approach for addressing such gender inequalities. Its function is to assess the implications of any planned action, policy or programme on women and men – in all areas and at all levels – before decisions are made, and then monitored throughout the whole process. It is a strategy for making the unique concerns of both women and men an integral part of the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of policies and programmes so that both women and men benefit, and inequality is not perpetuated. Gender mainstreaming in cities can be achieved in a variety of sectors and policies, plans and regulation.

Too often development partners consider Gender Mainstreaming as a specialized project or fail to provide practical examples for decision-makers and sectoral specialists within development agencies. Against this background and to inspire all those that programme for cities, this guidance note aims to illustrate how results of gender-responsive programming for and in cities can be realized. It provides a simple but holistic framework for Gender-Mainstreaming in Cities and illustrative examples of projects with ten intriguing case studies that demonstrate how mainstreaming gender does not have to be a specialized effort. The document showcasing various case studies is also available in PDF here

Cities Alliance believes that by taking gender considerations into account, and by ensuring the generation and maintenance of gender-disaggregated data, policy makers can ensure that policies are better targeted, services and resources are more effectively provisioned, and residents enjoy greater equality. Cities can also reap significant development benefits from instituting policies and practices that promote gender equality. By offering men and women equal access to education, childcare facilities, safe public transport, markets, and employment, cities gain a larger workforce with increased purchasing power. Decision making also becomes more inclusive when women are represented in local, regional and national decision-making processes. It generally leads to better informed decisions on how to design services and use resources efficiently.

Abstract based on source.


Website References


Built environment


City planning


Costa Rica



Human settlements

Inclusive cities




South Africa




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