Advancing Gender-Inclusiveness in Spatial Planning empowers women in development – Physical Planner


Odumase, June 08, 2024

A spatial planning advocate and gender activist has underscores the critical need for integrating females perspective into land use and spatial planning policies to tackle gender disparities in both urban and rural development.

Mrs. Gifty Nyarko Karikari, the head of Physical Planning Department of the Sunyani West Municipality said recognizing and incorporating women’s experiences, needs, expertise and voices into planning frameworks is pivotal for creating more inclusive and equitable policies for holistic national development.

Speaking to the media in an interview at Odumase, the Sunyani West Municipal capital, she emphasized “the time is now for the nation to prioritize factors such as women’s access to land, transportation, housing, and public services, as well as their roles in caregiving and economic activities”.

In her opinion on the role of women in sustainable cities and holistic national growth, Pln. Nyarko noted it was necessary to conduct gender-sensitive analyses to discern how land use and spatial planning decisions affect women differently from men.

She stressed examining issues such as property rights, inheritance laws, access to infrastructure, safety concerns, and mobility constraints that disproportionately impact women and girls should be amongst core on the discussion and policy-making table from national to District and Community levels.

Pln. Nyarko was optimistic that mainstreaming gender into planning processes and policymaking can ensure interventions that address the specific challenges faced by women, ultimately leading to more effective and sustainable outcomes.

Furthermore, she outlined the significance of engaging women in decision-making processes and empowering them as active participants in shaping their communities. 

In addition, investing in infrastructure and public spaces that are safe, accessible, and responsive to the needs of women can contribute to more sustainable and resilient communities. 

This involves promoting women’s leadership and representation on planning committees, fostering women’s entrepreneurship and land ownership, and providing opportunities for capacity building and education on gender-responsive planning practices.

Pln. Nyarko stated integrating women’s perspective in planning was crucial for promoting gender equality, social justice, and sustainable development. 

By so doing, the nation can create more inclusive, resilient and equitable cities and communities for all, she said and urged the government not to hesitate to prioritize the integration of gender perspectives into spatial planning policies. 

The move can facilitate government’s promotion of social justice and enhance the well-being of all citizens.

Pln. Nyarko recommended that the Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority and the National Development Planning Commission should collectively prioritize monitoring and oversight mechanisms to ensure the District Assemblies effectively implement policies aimed at meeting the needs of women. 

This she stated can be possible through establishing clear guidelines, conducting regular assessments, providing capacity building, facilitating stakeholder engagement and implementing accountability mechanisms. 

By actively monitoring and supporting District Assemblies in implementing gender-responsive land use and spatial planning policies, these bodies can ensure that the needs of women are effectively addressed and integrated into local development processes, Pln. Nyarko observed. 

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