Promoting gender-sensitive architecture

Men and women use space in the home (and in the workplace and other public spaces) differently. Apart from their different tasks, there are strongly-held beliefs in some cultures about how men and women use space, and these vary enormously. Women and men also have different habits and preferences. These come from a complex mixture of their culture, traditions and personalities; also from how they earn a living or divide up the work at home
Many poor urban women and men engage in crop growing and livestock keeping. They need small gardens suitable for this. Many women have jobs in the informal sector and need to use the home as a workplace if they are to earn money and look after the family. Few low income houses are designed for this and building regulations may even prevent this. The small spaces and overcrowding in low income informal settlement and planned housing cause severe problems for women and men and for growing children (especially boys, who in certain cultures are traditionally not allowed to stay in the same house as their mothers).

Most services needed by women are not the ones provided by authorities. In undserviced settlements, women have to fill the gap by providing those services themselves. Because of expectations about the division of labour between men and women, in most urbanizing societies it is usually the women who carry water to the home, clear away refuse, dig drains, bale out flood water using buckets, fetch fuel and so on.

One of the most major changes in families happens with urbanization. Despite different cultural assumptions about what men and women do in different parts of the world, urbanization often comes with a whole new set of assumptions and conditions which are imposed from elsewhere. This includes the buildings, whose form and construction may be based on completely different climates and culture.

Type Classification:
G: Very Specific strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities