- Oxfam GB, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Cities Alliance
Urban residents are increasingly dependent on cash to meet their basic needs and pay for every service that they use. They have to pay for poor quality yet expensive housing, have limited access to municipal services, reside and work in some of the most vulnerable areas of the city, and are victims of violence and excessive interaction with law enforcement agencies. All these circumstances give urban poverty a distinctive gendered dimension as it puts a double burden on women who are not only responsible for taking care of the household members but are also forced to work from a very young age to make ends meet. The jobs that are available to girls and women in cities are often within the informal sector or at the lowest end of the formal sector. The gendered aspect of urban poverty is reflected in not just the time poverty but in terms of how there are income differentials in the paid work that they pursue. While women living in cities have greater access and engagement within paid work compared to rural areas, there is still unequal and discriminatory behavior that they have to confront when they access these opportunities. Most poor women in cities end up working in positions where they do not have access to a formal contract, paid below the minimum wage, no access to social protection, no job security, and exploitative work conditions.
The side event would not just highlight the gendered nature of urban poverty but panelists would share practical approaches and best practices that have been implemented to overcome them. There has been a lot of work done around agency, skills development, market access, power structures, and double burden that different panelists will share. The discussion would also focus on how these solutions help achieve the commitments of the new urban agenda and SDGs. The panel would bring together representatives NGOs, UN Agencies, Cities Alliance, and local governments to share their work on women's economic empowerment in cities across the globe.