UN-HABITAT Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka on Monday called on world governments to enact legislation that will ensure that women achieved gender equality in accessing human settlements.
Mrs. Tibaijuka said that meeting gender-related targets of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) would depend to a large extent on bringing about the required changes to a myriad of laws and restrictive legislation that remain major obstacles to gender equality and the empowerment of women.
“In order to remove the barriers to gender equality in the human settlements sector, we must deal with housing laws and by-laws, urban planning regulations, laws dealing with property rights and inheritance rights, access to credit, and the list goes on,” she said.
Mrs. Tibaijuka was speaking in Nairobi on the occasion of the Joint Meeting of the Inter Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANGWE) and the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Developments (OECD).
The two-day meeting on Aid Modalities and the Promotion of Gender Equality brought together some 50 gender experts from across the globe.
A significant challenge faced by all working for promoting the internationally agreed development goals is to guarantee that gender equality, and women’s needs in particular, are addressed adequately, Mrs. Tibaijuka said. She challenged the participants saying that as gender experts, they were well placed to assist countries to mainstream gender and equity concerns into the budgeting process by providing guidelines and technical support.
“Poverty within urban areas means not only very low incomes and associated hunger, but also overcrowded housing conditions and exposure to a number of hazards such as floods, landslides, earthquake and fire. The urban poor are continually at risk, by virtue of both their precarious incomes and of the natural and human made hazards to which they are exposed daily,” she said adding that women and the children they support were the worst off.
IANGWE Chair Ms. Rachel Mayanja said that a ten-year of review of the Beijing Platform for Action demonstrated that both donor and partner countries needed to do more to halt and reverse the increasing poverty among women.
“While policies purporting to address gender gaps have been put in place in many countries, the real political will of implementing those, including by providing adequate funding, is lacking.