Women and Urban Governance Explored at ccrri Seminar
UKZN’s Centre for Critical Research on Race and Identity (ccrri) hosted a seminar titled: “Women and Urban Governance – the Disjuncture between Policy and Everyday Experiences in Intimate Spaces”.
Research into the issue was done by Dr Kira Erwin and Dr Orli Bass of ccrri, and Dr Jennifer Houghton of the Graduate School of Business and Leadership (GSB&L).
The presentation formed part of their book chapter in the forthcoming 2014 publication: Urban governance in Postapartheid Cities: Modes of Engagement in South Africa’s Metropoles.
Their book chapter contribution and seminar presentation highlight the area of urban governance and gender. ‘We are concerned with the disjuncture between urban governance policy in South Africa advocating gender sensitivity and women’s empowerment, and women’s everyday experiences of inequality, marginalisation and gender-based violence. Linking research on women’s everyday urban encounters, within the broader context of urban governance, raises questions for rethinking governance policy and implementation,’ explained the presenters.
The concept of intimate spaces was used as a mechanism for exploring the intersection of formal and informal gender discourses, and the networking of private and public actors within a governance framework.
Using two vignettes of intimate spaces found in a police station and an apartment building, they illustrated how integrating women’s experiences on the micro-scale into people’s understanding of urban governance held possibilities for rethinking substantive gender sensitive and inclusive governance frameworks for cities.
Using the police station example, the presenters discussed how, “these vignettes offer awareness of how formal and informal governance frameworks can mould social relations that themselves subvert and reshape governance and its intended outcomes”.
The overall presentation of the vignettes sparked an interesting discussion centered on gender and community, the attitudes of society and the disjuncture between policy and implementation.
- Melissa Mungroo