Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Women and the City

Being an Urban Studies and Women's Studies major, the way that these two disciplines interact out in the real world is something that I am always aware of. Poverty is one such issue where these two areas of study overlap. Much has been written about the rise of urban poverty over the last 60 years. However, it has mostly been written from the male perspective. This viewpoint excludes the unique experiences of women who have to juggle poverty with tending a possible family they might have, trying to find work, and encountering the many barriers that come along with not only being poor, but also being a woman.

With the rise in female poverty and women in female-headed households with no spouse experiencing higher rates of poverty at 24.4%, the need for a female perspective is more than evident. Finally, this trend is changing. With new publications that include a female voice in the history of urban poverty, such as Dr. Lisa Levenstein's book A Movement Without Marches, women's experiences and struggles are now being reintroduced into the history of urban poverty.

By rewriting and including women in the dialogue of urban poverty and it's history, effects of this can be seen through many cities new policies and approaches to reducing poverty levels. Places all over the world, including the United States, are starting to follow the idea that by uplifting women in urban centers through promoting gender equity and equality, making education universally available and meeting reproductive health needs, that it can help alleviate many of the factors that lead to rises in poverty. With the Obama administration, they have begun revamp and increase the amount of Small Business Administration programs that provide capital to women-owned businesses.

Women are finally being recognized as an integral part of the way cities function and are being seen as a solution to some of the issues that are a part of cities. This recognition is not only a bright sign for the future of cities and the alleviation of poverty, but is a huge step in getting the female voice in all aspects of social, political, and economic life that has been missing.

No comments: