Are Women the Key to Sustainable Development?
, by Candice Stevens and appearing in Boston University’s Sustainable Development Insights
series, asks whether gender-conscious development strategies are the missing link in the three pillars–social, economic, and environmental–of sustainable development. She points out that “An increasing number of studies indicate that gender inequalities are extracting high economic costs and leading to social inequities and environmental degradation around the world.” In the policy world gender-conscious initiatives are often more effective as well. “United Nations and World Bank studies show that focusing on women in development assistance and poverty reduction strategies leads to faster economic growth than ‘gender neutral’ approaches.” Stevens finds that achieving greater gender parity may be the key to better governance, increased growth, and a safer environment.
The Role of Cities in Sustainable Development, by David Satherwaite and also appearing in Boston University’s Sustainable Development Insights series, argues that traditional depictions of cities as dirty and unsustainable are inaccurate. Instead, “…with the right innovation and incentives in place, cities can allow high living standards to be combined with resource consumption that is much lower than the norm in most cities today,” he finds. Satherwaite contends that high-density living arrangements can reduce per capita energy consumption, transportation emissions, and costs of public service provisions like hospitals and schools. However, he warns that none of these potential advantages are guaranteed, and city planners must utilize effective local governance in order to make cities safe, clean, and sustainable.