A Gender Lens on Informal Settlement Upgrading: Strengthening Women's Participation

In the context of persisting gender inequality, women’s participation in informal settlement upgrading in South Africa needs special attention. Disparities in access to resources are coupled with gender relations that are biased towards male power and marginalise the voice, agency and influence of women. This limits the contributions of women in upgrading projects and the potential for upgrading projects to contribute to gender equality. Informal settlement upgrading practitioners observe this in community participation processes. This issue highlights the need for a human settlement policy that acknowledges the effect of gender relations on informal settlement upgrading and creates an enabling environment for women to participate equally in transforming their living conditions.