Gender: At the heart of regeneration | Gender

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In recent years regeneration work has started to look at social exclusion and community participation. This has opened up the possibility of putting gender on the agenda.When gender issues have been taken on board, it has made a significant difference. Better targeting and results are obtained for the whole community through an awareness of women and men's differing needs. Women's confidence, skills and participation have grown. Communities have gained greater understanding on which to build programmes and funding applications. The projects outlined in this resource give a glimpse of the many facets of regeneration policy and how it can be improved by making gender central to all aspects of its work.
  Why the silence? So why is this? The UK has had some formofregeneration policy for at least 35 years.But throughout that time,gender has onlybeen used to highlight ‘problems’such assingle parents and underachieving boys.Research has shown some ofthe reasonsfor this: 1  Lack ofgovernment requirements for regeneration projects to tackle gender issues.  Too few statistics broken down bygender;too little monitoring or evidenceofgood practice on gender issues.  Barriers to participation and consultation with communities,and women in particular.  Failure to set gender-specific targets and outputs. Gender matters In recent years regeneration work hasstarted to look at social exclusion andcommunity participation.This has opened up the possibility ofputting gender on the agenda.When gender issues have been taken onboard,it has made a significant difference.Better targeting and results are obtained for the whole community through anawareness ofwomen and men ’ s differingneeds.Women ’ s confidence,skills andparticipation have grown.Communities havegained greater understanding on which tobuild programmes and funding applications.The projects outlined on the next pages give a glimpse ofthe many facets of regeneration policy and how it can beimproved by making gender central to all aspects ofits work. Gender:at the heart ofregeneration M OREwomen than men live in poverty on deprived estates.Women in general have lower incomes than men.They aremore likely to be carers and they make up 91 per cent ofloneparents.And while they are the majority in community groups,womenare in the minority when it comes to making the decisions. Meanwhile,more men are beaten up in the street,and boys are doing worse than girls at school.It is clear that social exclusion and regeneration cannot be addressed withouttaking gender issues into account,because men and women experience poverty differently.Gender lies at the heart ofurban regeneration,which covers a wide range ofservices  –  housing,transport,education,health and crime.All these have different impacts on men and women.And yet gender issues are not always recognised when it comes to regeneration schemes.  Ripe for regeneration? Housing estate in Manchester,England.    P   H   O   T   O  :   P   A   U   L   H   E   R   R   M   A   N   N   /   P   R   O   F   I   L   E .   C   O   U   R   T   E   S   Y   O   F   C   H   U   R   C   H   A   C   T   I   O   N   O   N   P   O   V   E   R   T   Y   P   H   O   T   O  :   P   A   U   L   H   E   R   R   M   A   N   N   /   P   R   O   F   I   L   E .   C   O   U   R   T   E   S   Y   O   F   C   H   U   R   C   H   A   C   T   I   O   N   O   N   P   O   V   E   R   T   Y UK   Poverty Programme  I Fwomen are single pensioners,unemployed,Pakistani or Bangladeshi,teenage heads ofhousehold,or tenants,they are more likely to be poor than men with the samecharacteristics.They are also likely to be excluded fromdecisions about their lives.The following projects illustratehow involving them can make a big difference … Gellideg is an estate in Merthyr Tydfil,an area with some ofthe highest indices ofdeprivation in Wales.In 1998,six local women got together and formed the GellidegFoundation Group .With Oxfam ’ s help,they began to asksome fundamental questions about the 3,500 people wholived on the estate.Did women and men experience povertydifferently? How could they be involved in improving their situation? What had to happen to bring about change?Interviews looked at the different needs ofmen and womenand issues around training and employment,childcare,stereotyping,low self-esteem and low expectations.Gender analysis focused on how women and men,old and young,coped differently with their different situations.The Foundation made recommendations for change at local,regional and national levels.They successfully applied for European funding to carry some ofthese out.And they foundthat the process had changed them as well.The Women and Regeneration Project was part oftheWomen ’ s Design Service.The project aimed to build thecapacity ofwomen to influence the decisions and policies of their regeneration partnership boards and develop guidancefor good practice.It focused on the involvement ofspecificgroups,including elderly women,disabled women,ethnicminority women and women on low incomes.Case studiesincluded community consultation exercises where localwomen undertook surveys ofwomen ’ s perceptions andneeds in regeneration.For example,one oftheir findings was that Black and minority ethnic women experience racismand discrimination when using the built environment.Onedisabled woman noted how difficult it was to get around: ‘You can only wait so long at a bus stop… after the third or fourthbus goes past,when the driver says the ramp does not work,it’smuch more tempting to turn around and go home.’ The project resulted in increased skills for the womeninvolved  –   and better information for policy makers. ”   We don ’ t recognise ourselves –  we ’ re so gender aware now,we even heckled thestand-up comic on ourChristmas night out forsexual stereotyping! Mark Connolly,Gellideg Foundation Group Since I ’ ve been working on thisproject I ’ ve done all sorts ofthings I haven ’ t done before. Somirun Bibi,volunteer,Women and Regeneration project 1Participation and social inclusion “  “  ”   Somirun Bibi (right) and RukbanRouf,Women and RegenerationProject volunteers. P H OT  O C  O URT E  S Y  OF W OME N'   S DE  S I   GN S E RV I   C E   Graffiti on Gellideg housing estate in Wales.    P   H   O   T   O  :   R   A   C   H   E   L   M   O   R   T   O   N   /   O   X   F   A   M   P   H   O   T   O  :   R   A   C   H   E   L   M   O   R   T   O   N   /   O   X   F   A   M  P UTTINGgender at the centre ofregeneration schemescan make them more successful.Glasgow Women andSocial Inclusion Working Group (GWSIWG)has beenworking withregenerationdecision-makers to raiseawarenessofgenderissues and tousegender impact assessment tools to support improved regeneration.Individual meetings with Social Inclusion Partnership (SIP)members led to the commissioning ofa study into theawareness ofgender equality and gender mainstreaming inSIPs.Anagreement followed that a gender impact assessmentwould be undertaken in a SIP.Greater Govan SIP,Oxfam andothers are currently working on a longer-term Gender Development Programme,including gender impact assessmentand capacity building for participants.Also planned is work onlearning and advocacy,to ensure that lessons learnt from theprogramme can inform regeneration practice in Scotland andelsewhere more widely in the future.Projectsare beginning to emerge in other SIPareas thatrespond to the different needs ofmen and women.The HealthyLivingProject,while broadly constructed,hasspecificallytargeted men ’ shealth issues in the Gorbals,andGreater Easterhouse has undertaken a review ofwomen ’ sservices in the area. 2 In 2000,South Yorkshire obtained European funding throughObjective 1.As such funding includes a requirement to main-stream gender,this became central to all regeneration projects. As a result,there have been a number ofinitiatives including:   A cross-cutting themes team whose role is to embed gender equality in all aspects ofthe funding process.   A Gender Task Group which scrutinises and coordinates activity throughout the programme.   A fund for positive action projects to tackle labour marketsegregation;promote work-life balance in employment;to advance gender balance in decision making and targetunemployed men and women ’ s employment.   A gender manager to oversee projects and progress on mainstreaming.   A gender champion to actively promote understanding among staff,partners and project applicants.  Research on baseline information to monitor gender,ethnicity and disability and monitor the gender balance ofall programme structures. 2Gender mainstreaming:building in not building on “  “  ”  ”   Mainstreaming is a strategy that aims to make equalityconsiderations aregular part ofthemainstream policyprocess.It entailsbuilding in equalityrather than building iton to existing policies and programmes. 3 Engendering the work ofSIPS inGlasgow,Rona Fitzgerald,2002 We must be more organised.We need a structure to broaden out involvement and tobuild a strong lobbyingorganisation. 4 Laura Moynahan,Netherthorpe andUpperthorpe Community Alliance    Almost halfofall women have total individualincomes ofless than £100 a week,compared withless than a fifth ofmen. 7  In one survey,16.5% ofwomen and 9.2% ofmensaid they did not have even a ‘small amount ofmoney’to spend on themselves each week. 8 Facts on gender,poverty and regeneration On a personal note this period (2002 -2003) ends with an air ofoptimism because I have seen the hugeopportunities availableto us as women and as an organisation. Isadora Aiken,South Yorkshire Women ’ s Development Trust 3Employment and training “  ”      D   A   V   I   D   R   O   S   E   /   P   A   N   O   S   P   I   C   T   U   R   E   S  Poor quality 1950shousing regenerationin Drumchapel,Glasgow,Scotland. W HILEalmost halfofhousing employees are women,they tend not to work in the professions that constructthe environment in which we live.In1996,only 9%of chartered surveyors,12%ofarchitects,and 23% ofregisteredtown planners were women. 5 Projects which encourage andtrain women in such professions are therefore crucial ingetting women ’ s ideas and skills into the built environment.In April 2002,the South Yorkshire Women ’ s DevelopmentTrust was established to provide a voice for women across the region,to provide links between different people andorganisations,and to look at accessing funding and sharingresources and expertise.The Trust coordinates a number ofprojects related to regeneration and gender under theEuropean Union ’ s Objective 1 funding.One ofthese projectsis WITBE  –   Women in the Built Environment,which worksdirectly with women to provide professional guidance.Jennie Fortune,an architect from Sheffield Hallam University ’ sSchool ofEnvironment and Development says: ‘ Many womenand girls are put offjobs in the built environment because ofthemacho image and perceptions ofthe behaviour that goes on.Weoffer structured support to women and girls going into training and jobs in the built environment. ’ One WITBE initiative took sixth form girls from SouthYorkshire schools to a day event. ‘ In the morning,the girlssurveyed a dilapidated old shop with a briefto turn it into asnazzy new cafe/bar.They were shown how to look for dampand defects,how to change the structure,and think aboutaccess and building regulations.Later,they designed thecafe/bar,taking everything they ’ d learned in the morning intoaccount.The day ended with a visit to a Gleeson ’ s buildingsite in Sheffield.The girls ’ verdict on the day: ‘ a brilliant day ’ ; ‘ thank you for the experience ’ ; ‘ it has made me seriously considerconstruction as a job ’ and ‘ as a result I am going to apply for the architecture course at Hallam University ’ . 6       C
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