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‘Let them sing!’ The paradoxes of gender mainstreaming in urban policy and urban scholarship

Authors: Elsa Koleth*, York University
Topics: Urban Geography, Women, Political Geography
Keywords: urban policy, SDGs, World Urban Forum, gender, feminism
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The early twenty first century has been a defining period for urbanization at a global scale. There is an urgent imperative to bring a gender analysis into debates on urbanization in this period of rapid urban growth and change. At the level of global urban policy this includes the integration of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 on women and SDG 11 on cities and human settlements. As the global community of urban practitioners, governmental bodies, urban scholars, and grassroots and civil society organizations prepare for the 10th United Nations World Urban Forum, to be held in Abu Dhabi in February 2020, we discuss the potential of intergovernmental and scholarly spaces for gendering approaches to urbanization. We do so by reflecting on our experience of attending the 9th World Urban Forum (WUF 9), held in Kuala Lumpur in February 2018, as well as a series of academic conference sessions held in the Toronto, New Orleans, and Montreal in 2018 on the theme of social reproduction and the development of a feminist urban theory for our time. We ask, to what extent do these different institutional settings create discursive spaces for centering gender in transformative visions of the urban?

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