New Delhi: Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu on February 16 spoke of the need for imparting gender perspective to designing urban policies and programmer while inaugurating a two-day International Conference on Gender and Urban Poverty in New Delhi. “Our government is keen to enhance representation of women in urban local bodies by reserving 50 per cent of the seats for women through an amendment to the Constitution. We have already held one round of consultations with the states. We would like to take this to its logical conclusion,” he said. Speaking about the need for reservation for women in Parliament and state legislatures, Naidu said the Centre seeks to build a consensus in this regard.
Observing that “women are more vulnerable to harshness of urban inequities and struggle more in terms of job security, pay parity, access to credit, suitability of working conditions, access to safe water, education and healthcare, housing”, he stressed on the need for urban policies to be guided by women’s perspectives. “Different facets of urban poverty like income, working conditions, access to basic infrastructure, time, social status, violence, sanitation, health, education etc. affect women more adversely,” he said.
The minister said, “Gender sensitivity is all about acknowledging and being responsive to the different roles of women and men in the development of human settlements and their differential needs and addressing them through policy and institutional mechanisms.” The Government is keen to promote ‘engendered cities’ with the objective of welfare of women through their participation. On the central government’s gender sensitive initiatives, Naidu said, “Under the housing for all scheme, joint ownership of houses to be built will be promoted besides giving overriding preference to women headed households, single women under different components like Credit Linked Subsidy and Rental Housing.” Voicing concern over safety of women in urban areas, he said, “The government is focusing on promoting quality and reliable public transport under various schemes.”