Day 30 – Q.3 Discuss the role of women in addressing poverty and developmental issues in urban areas, including through their participation in the labor force and in community-level initiatives.

  • IASbaba
  • December 27, 2022
  • 0
GS 1, Indian Society, TLP-UPSC Mains Answer Writing
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Discuss the role of women in addressing poverty and developmental issues in urban areas, including through their participation in the labor force and in community-level initiatives.

शहरी क्षेत्रों में गरीबी और विकासात्मक मुद्दों को संबोधित करने में महिलाओं की भूमिका पर चर्चा करें, जिसमें श्रम बल और सामुदायिक स्तर की पहल में उनकी भागीदारी शामिल है।

Approach –

In this question candidates need to write about role of women in addressing poverty and developmental issues in urban areas through participation in labor force and community level initiatives .

Introduction –

In  economic development of India, its cities have a major role to play. Women can play major role in addressing poverty and developmental issues in urban area through their participation.

Body –

Role of women in addressing poverty and development in urban area-

  • Urban areas faces lack of durable housing, overcrowding, insufficient access to clean water, poor sanitation, and threats of forced evictions. Women and girls often suffer the worst effects.
  • Sustainable cities and towns support the equal participation of women and men, especially in urban planning and management, as well as governance.
  • Under the principles of decentralization, states should ensure that local authorities have the right and the ability to regulate a substantial share of public affairs.
  • Over the last few decades, there has been substantial progress in women’s access to power and decision-making, but there is still persistent under-representation by women in politics.
  • A growing number of urban governance programme and tools have been developed to improve women’s participation and empowerment, targeting diverse groups of women—from the grassroots to technical experts to the highest levels of academia and politics.
  • To improve policies and programme, governments and urban planners benefit from understanding how gender affects women and men differently as victims of disasters, but also how the knowledge and skills of both can help them and their communities to survive.
  • Furthermore, women in the informal economy are more often found working in the most vulnerable situations, for example as contributing family workers.
  • Income losses owing to poor health, combined with high out-of-pocket payments in the absence of social health protection, are a major cause of poverty among women who work in the informal sector.
  • There is a clear positive relationship between poverty and informality; the poor face higher rates of informal employment, although with some important disparities owing to the fact that employment is an individual-based measure, whereas poverty is measured at the household level and thereby strongly affected by household size and composition
  • It is noteworthy that, when poverty rates are compared between.women and men who are in informal employment in most developing countries,and more generally in most countries that have the highest incidence of poverty,more women than men in informal employment live in households that fall below the poverty line
  • High occurrence of such health ailments often increases the burden of additional care work on women living in dense informal settlements, increasing their time poverty.

Roles women can play in addressing developmental issues in urban areas –

  • To facilitate women’s involvement, most of the work could be organized on a part-time basis, say four hours a day.A part-time employment option would be attractive for many poor women in urban areas.
  • Urban women, on the whole, have greater access to services and infrastructure, more opportunities to engage in paid employment, and are subject to fewer sociocultural restrictions than women living in rural areas.
  • However, they do not benefit equally with men in urban environments. They are disadvantaged in income poverty, asset poverty, time and power.
  • Homogeneity and limited exposure in rural areas can limit awareness of alternative gender roles discouraging contestation of gender norms and confidence in the possibility of social change, e.g. in the division of labour.
  • Urban heterogeneity fosters tolerance of differences, and can erode existing assumptions of gender differences and cultivate support for equality Increasing feminisation of labour in urban areas has accompanied an informational of labour, but informal sector activities (e.g. street vending) are precarious, mostly unregistered and poorly paid.
  • Urban environments provide advantages for education compared to rural areas, but there are barriers particularly for girls from poor urban households. In slums, after-school study is often limited by lack of space, peace, light and other infrastructure.
  • Women can increase their empowerment and agency when they have accumulated more (and more diverse) assets and when supportive structural policies are in place.
  • Gender-based violence is a core area of focus in analyzing women’s economic empowerment, and in urban settings, particularly, where gender norms may be challenged.
  • Transformation of gender roles in urban contexts will require wider community involvement and in many contexts collective action to promote group interests and entitlements.
  • Full-time employment tends to be very difficult for them, especially if they have young children.Wage employment for a few hours a day would be much easier to manage.
  • It would give them some economic independence and bargaining power within the family, and help them to acquire new skills.
  • The economic dependence of women on men is one of the prime roots of gender inequality and female oppression in India.Giving priority to women would have two further merits.
  • Cities offer several opportunities to mitigate climate change impacts through risk assessments, building codes, land use planning, and nature-based solutions. Rainwater harvesting and management is one way to prevent time poverty for women.
  • Thus, to effectively implement climate change policies in urban resilience strategies, policy measures must be inclusive and gender sensitive, with particular attention to the experience of slum residents.
  • SHG can become a vehicle of change for the poor and marginalized. SHG rely on the notion of “Self Help” to encourage self-employment and poverty alleviation.
  • It looks to build the functional capacity of the poor and the marginalized in the field of employment and income generating activities.

Way forward-

  • Women play a crucial role in the production of food and in feeding their families and the world and gender equality are highly connected to food security at a local, national, and global level.
  • Thus, women’s labour force participation and access to decent work are important and necessary elements of an inclusive and sustainable development process.
  • A policy framework encouraging and enabling women’s participation should be constructed with an active awareness of the “gender-specific” constraints that face most women.


The need of the hour is to provide them with opportunities for health, education, work through initiatives like SHGs, NGO programs and Government initiatives like DAY-NULM, PM Awas Yojana, ICDS etc.This would help us in achieving the SDG-5 which empowers all women & achieve gender equality.

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