【FOCUS】Empower Women and Increase Social Inclusion
Gender equality is not only a basic human right, but also a necessary foundation for peace, prosperity and sustainable development of the world. However, in today’s society, women are still among the disadvantaged and face many obstacles in different aspects, such as career development and access to resources. In this week’s In Focus, we are going to present five initiatives of urban innovations that are empowering women and increasing social inclusion.
Guide: providing support to women entrepreneurs
Launched in 2005 by GründerRegio M, a non-profit organisation that promotes entrepreneurship in Munich and the surrounding region, Guide provides training, advice, counselling and networking opportunities to female entrepreneurs. It supports women in planning and establishing their own service sector business, women who are returning to the labour market after raising a family and women who may encounter problems finding employment. Women can access consulting services and explore if entrepreneurship is the right option for them. Guide’s services are tailored to the client’s specific needs and unique personal situation such as their employment history, health issues, family commitments and their individual aims and interests. Guide regularly organises seminars, workshops and networking events where women can share their knowledge, experience and expertise.
Food Ladder Oasis for Afghan Women
Australian-based non-profit organisations Mahboba’s Promise and Food Ladder launched a collaborative social enterprise project addressing food security of vulnerable women and their families in Afghanistan. Food Ladder addresses food security by empowering the poorest people in the world with its environmentally sustainable, high-yield, hydroponic greenhouse garden system. This system derives from commercial farming techniques, delivering commercial-scale quality and output to the poor.
The aim of this project is to create a local source of food to communities and the technology which enables them to cultivate crops indigenous to their diets.
Girls Leadership programme
Mashhad is the second largest metropolis in Iran with a population of over 3 million residents. Like most large cities it faces sustainability issues such as air pollution, increasing population and limited green space. The Girl’s Leadership programme developed by the Mashhad Municipality provides an opportunity to educate the female student population about urban sustainability and simultaneously encourage participation in civic affairs. The average age of the target group ranges from 8 to 11 as research indicates that when young people are exposed to leadership and team-work behaviours at an early age, they will more likely develop these talents as they grow older. In Iranian culture women play a significant role in influencing the family unit in community matters and this is a fundamental reason for focussing the programme on girls.
Using SafetiPin to build safer cities for women
SafetiPin is a map-based mobile and desktop application, that works to make communities and cities safer by providing information collected by users and trained auditors. At the core of the app is the Women's Safety Audit, a participatory tool for collecting and assessing information about perceptions of urban safety in public spaces. The audit is based on nine parameters - Lighting, Openness, Visibility, Crowd, Security, Walkpath, Availability of Public Transport, Gender Diversity and Feeling. SafetiPin in partnership with the District Secretary for Women conducted safety audits in the city of Bogota supported by UN Habitat and Cities Alliance.
Improving the Quality of Life in a Disadvantaged Neighbourhood
Mamak district of Ankara is an area of social exclusion with migration problems, deprived infrastructure, education, health, intra-family violence, supressed rights of women, and youth unemployment. In Aksemsettin, an area in Mamak, the number of squatter housing reaches around 600 units by the end 1990s'. It was one of the first ‘gecekondu’ (squatter housing) areas in Turkey. Settling in squatter areas can be traced back to the 1950s, when migrants from central Anatolia came to Ankara looking for better jobs. Nowadays the reason for the settlement is primarily internal migration; inhabitants consist of people who cannot cope with conditions in Ankara. In particular, women have socio-economic problems in Mamak. They need counselling, commonly have health problems and are often unaware of their civic rights.
Present policies aim to achieve social inclusion through civic engagement, cultural vitality, gender equity, and poverty reduction. Multiple partners from cross-divisional departments and groups have carried out successful collaboration work and raised living conditions for disadvantaged people in Mamak. Collaboration between project partners directly address the needs of Mamak women by offering preparatory courses, establishing a Community Centre and a weaving workshop improved job opportunities, and reducing intra-neighbourhood discrepancies. The approach had an integrative and participative character.
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