Many of the world’s fastest growing cities are the most vulnerable to climate changes, and are located in regions where women have very limited access to family planning. ECSP consultant Kathleen Mogelgaard, in an event at the Wilson Center earlier this month, pointed out that meeting the reproductive health needs of women in these places can yield “double dividends,” reducing the number of people in vulnerable areas and making them more resilient to all kinds of change.
Women also face outsized security challenges in urban areas that have little governance or structure. In March, a panel of experts including Wilson Center Fellow Alison Brysk presented new research on the causes of high rates of gender-based violence in cities around the world. Brysk said there’s evidence that rapid urbanization itself is a driver of violence against women: “It’s not just the static features. It’s not just, for example, poverty. It’s change. It’s economic change. It’s inequality.”
Indeed sustainable development and resilience, by their very definitions, must include some element of reproductive health and the rights of women, which are so important for our long-term future. But so often, women tend to be the “who” that are forgotten while the world focuses on “what.”
Earth Day 2014: Women at the Center of Sustainable Cities | New Security Beat