Taking women’s bodily functions into account in urban planning and sustainability

Greed, C. (2015) Taking women’s bodily functions into account in urban planning and sustainability. In: 21st International Sustainability Development Research Society (ISDRS) Conference, The Tipping Point: Vulnerability and Adaptive Capacity, Geelong, Australia, 10-12 July 2015. Available from: http://eprints.uwe.ac.uk/25927

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This paper discusses global sanitation issues, in relation to girls and women with reference to toilet provision, menstruation and urbanization. Whilst over 2 billion people lack adequate toilet provision, water supply, sanitation and for that matter electricity, women are particularly badly affected. 50% of school girls in Africa leave school when menstruation starts because of lack of school toilets. Most women and men without toilets continue to defecate outdoors but women are particularly vulnerable. Over 50% of the world’s population is urbanized and of those, over 50% of urban dwellers live in shanty towns and unregulated settlements, most of which are with any sanitation provision. Comparisons are made with the public toilet situation in Western countries, Women who have fewer facilities to start with, but more toileting needs, are especially badly affected. But public toilets are the missing link in creating sustainable, accessible and equitable cities. Lack of toilets has implications for health, hygiene, the needs of the elderly, disabled and children, as well as tourism, business and retail turnover. Many countries and large cities lack any toilet provision for women in the workplace, and no facilities are available for those travelling by public transport or foot. So better provision will increase women's access to the city, and result in their right to the city being fulfilled. Investment in toilets is not money down the drain. Likewise in the developing World provision of toilets, basic hygiene and water supply, reduces disease and improves health. Toilet provision is one of the last frontiers of gender inequality and this very basic issue needs to be integrated into urban planning policy, urban design and development priorities as part of gender mainstreaming programmes.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords:gender, menstruation, sanitation, toilets, cities
Faculty/Department:Faculty of Environment and Technology > Department of Geography and Environmental Management
ID Code:25927
Deposited By: C. Vaughton
Deposited On:20 Jul 2015 09:46
Last Modified:29 Jul 2016 03:50

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