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What: Getting to know what has been produced and the production in progress at universities worldwide; how much progress has been achieved in gender studies from the perspective of the Habitat Agenda issues; and broaden the current knowledge base and transfer of knowledge.

The Gender Hub documents, analyses, sets and promotes a global agenda on gender equality and women’s rights to the city; urban planning; land and housing; urban services and infrastructure; mobility, transportation, accessibility; cities and safety; socio-demographic transformations; sexual division of labour; everyday life quality in cities: time use survey, use of space and territories; resilience to climate change; governance and political participation and others. The Gender Hub will advocate for gender mainstreaming, focusing on research on theoretical approach, policies, actions and programs.

Why: Many studies regarding habitat actions and policies lack a women’s rights and gender perspective. Women have historically contributed —and continue doing it— to improving the quality of life of their homes, communities and cities. However, they are not properly recognized in planning and policies, instead they are mainly diluted in the family concept. As a result, the analysis and actions on planning cities, services, equipment and infrastructure fail to include women’s specific demands and needs. The omission of women is persistent.

Who: The Gender Hub will provide a network of academics and professionals that can link and share their practices and experiences around gender urban planning and women’s rights to the city with other scholars, technicians, policy-makers (specially with local governments), NGOs, communities. The Gender Hub will transfer promising and proven practices, as well as a consensus in order to create and promote a global agenda on gender and urbanization issues.

The hub is to strengthen the links between UN-Habitat international capacities and the university representatives to be part of the core group. The Hub will be closely connected to other related UNI Thematic Hubs; as well as UN-Habitat and UN Programmes. The Hub will be closely connected to AGGI, the Advisor Group for Gender issues created by the ED of UN Habitat. The Hub will work closely with the Gender Unit of UN-Habitat and with other academic and researchers’ networks, as well as activist and community networks. 

How: Online collaborations, on-site meetings and seminars, and participation in forums and events to disseminate the Gender Hub knowledge.

Following the initial online gathering of academics from different regions of the world, templates to record information on research, processes, projects and policies will be created and made accessible through the UNI portal to all members of the Hub, other UNI hubs and the public. During the last two years, the Gender Hub has held a series of seminars and participated with other networks and universities in different events: Madrid; Barcelona; Mexico (2014); and Naples, Mexico, Rome, Argentina (2015), among others.  The Gender Hub has created a subgroup of PhD students, which is moderated by Sara Ortiz Escalante y Blanca Gutiérrez Valdivia. This PhD subgroup has grown steadily. Some of its members have taken part in other academic spaces disseminating our Gender Hub cutting-edge knowledge.

Further online discussions will be promoted to develop the priorities of its working agenda. Its activities planned are: An online platform where Core Think Tank Core Think Tank will: meet online, and test the UNI portal; develop material for the UNI portal to provide for Hub needs and areas of work; identify focus areas for first online discussions; explore possible links with other UN programmes; create templates to record information on UNI portal; make templates available to all Hub members. With regards to knowledge building, the Gender Hub plans to: decide on 3-4 focus areas to develop in detail, based on ‘call out’’ responses; produce a report on ‘call out’ and record key themes in line with current global trends; establish links with other relevant UN programmes; ‘call out’ to Hub network for papers on gender, urban and city development, critical issues. For broadening its partnership, the Gender Hub will: finalizes the list of committed university representatives —from at least 10 global cities; work towards sharing focus areas and collaboration with other UN programmes at WUF7 in 2014 and Habitat III in 2016; link research and researchers together, and support development with collaborators; building on the initial gathering of promising practices, initiate collaboration between academia involved in the Hub in the direct development and dissemination of these practices; create a wider group of other university-government partnerships.

See the full concept note here