39 Urbanization can thus be a powerful factor in creat ing the conditions for

39 urbanization can thus be a powerful factor in

This preview shows page 27 - 29 out of 108 pages.

39 Urbanization can thus be a powerful factor in creat- ing the conditions for women’s empowerment. Turning this potential into reality is one of the most effective ways of promoting human rights, improving the living condi- tions of the poor and making the cities of developing countries better places in which to live. Cities lend themselves to women’s social and political participation at many levels. For poor women whose lives have been confined to home, family and work, the act of joining an organization immediately broadens their prospects. When women actively participate in an organization, or take on leadership roles, they gain self-confidence, new skills, knowledge and a greater understanding of the world. Organizing can address many of the limitations that poverty imposes on poor women; it can begin to counter the costs and risks of informal work. It can also help to reduce poor women’s vulnerability, insecurity and dependence, including a lack of knowledge about the outside world and how it works. Organizing also helps women who have few assets to pool resources, thereby increasing their economic power. Savings and credit groups may help the working poor access microfinance services, and producers with little capital may buy raw materials at wholesale prices by combining their resources. 40 Such advantages could be enhanced with more support. Poor women need a representative voice in the institutions and processes that establish social and economic policies in a global economy, in order to continue improving the living and working conditions of the poor. International, regional and national negotia- tions regarding free trade agreements, the Millennium STATE OF WORLD POPULATION 2007 21 Women have a chance to socialize and discuss their own concerns on a women’s-only car on the commuter railroad line in Mumbai, India. © Angela Jimenez/World Picture News
Image of page 27
22 CHAPTER 2: PEOPLE IN CITIES: HOPE COUNTERING DESOLATION Development Goals and poverty reduction strategies all need to include the voices and concerns of the urban poor and, in particular, informal workers, the majority of whom are women. Ensuring a voice for poor urban women at the highest level requires that government and international organizations support the growth of their organizations and build capacity for leadership. ACCESSING REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH: IT SHOULD BE MUCH BETTER Access to health care is particularly critical for women, because of their reproductive functions, because they are disproportionately burdened with providing care for the elderly and the sick and because they do more to relieve poverty at the community level. 41 Better access to educa- tion and employment for women contributes to their overall empowerment, their capacity to exercise their right to health, including reproductive health, and, overall, improves their life chances.
Image of page 28
Image of page 29

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture