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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Urban growth inevitable, but urban poverty is not - IIED Director

The director of the International Institute for Environmental and Development (IIED), Camilla Toulmin has called for adequate policy to tackle all form of gender inequality and seize the urban potential to improve lives as growth in the urban area is inevitable while poverty is not.

A recent research conducted by IIED with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) revealed that urbanization provides more job opportunities for the women but this doesn’t always give a fair distribution of wealth and other advantages that come with it.

The research result, NaijaAgroNet gathered shows that residents of low-income and informal urban settlements suffer hugely from inadequate living conditions with limited access to services that disproportionate burden on women's unpaid time and results in far-reaching consequences for the well-being.

Speaking about the report, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA Executive Director said that the research gave room for a new and emerging area of work which is of critical importance in order to reduce poverty and work towards gender equality.

“Responding effectively to rapid urbanization—which is occurring in many countries—requires empowering women and young people and improving their access to education, health and employment,” he said.

Speaking on the same note, a researcher from IIED, Cecilia Tacoli affirmed that gender inequalities in free time, working and living conditions, as well as exposure to violence, are some of the hidden aspects of poverty that affect women more disproportionately.

“When people talk of poverty they focus on income, but poverty has other aspects that affect men and women, old and young people in different ways,” Cecilia noted.

Further, NaijaAgroNet gathered from the report of the research that urbanization leads to lower fertility rates, but women living in poor areas may have as many children as rural women because their access to reproductive health services can be just as bad, if not worse.

The research also notes the potential for urbanization to deliver sustainable development and better quality of life for all individuals, noting that society as a whole should recognize the important role of unpaid female care work in ensuring that children, older people and those who are sick or disabled are looked after, especially where communities lack adequate services and infrastructure.
'Yinka Awosanya
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