Identifying Effective Factors of Women’s Participation in Urban Development Projects

Document Type : Research Article



Participation and its application in different fields of science, especially in urban planning and urban development projects, are two issues which have  been the focus of experts and scholars for decades  and are considered as the basic elements and components in the  success of urban projects. Yet, the issues of participation and its application are limited to a specific group of people in society, and women who make half of the urban population have not been comprised.  Taking this into consideration, the necessity of women’s participation in urban development projects can be considered as an opportunity in today’s urbanism. Nevertheless, the use of this opportunity and the existing potential in different communities need to be treated scientifically and locally. Therefore, this study offers different viewpoints related to the two issues of women and citizens’ participation in urban development in terms of feminist theories, cooperative urbanism, and gender in development and women in development. The study will, afterwards, analyze the basic roots of positive and active interaction between the two issues of women participation and urban development. Moreover, empowerment of women as one of the solutions will be analyzed, and finally based on an analysis of all the above-mentioned theories, pathology of women’s participation in urban development will be studied.  Summing up the study, proposed policies and strategies will be offered to overcome the barriers, and to promote and execute corrective comments. Based on the summarized correlation between women’s participation, empowerment of women and urban development, the two questions are come up: Which kinds of problem is the women’s participation in urban development projects faced with? Through which mechanisms and methods would women’s participation in the urban development be promoted? According to different parts of this research two main hypotheses for this research are assumed. These two are: A.Women’s participation is a dynamic process which contains different stages and is affected by a variety of factors. B. The increasing of women’s knowledge is the most effective factor in the process of women participation. The process of proving these hypotheses with following steps are chosen in this research. First, the theory on women’s participation and its improvement is described. Subsequently, the research framework is provided based upon the different assumptions and opinions which are related to women’s participation. In the second part of this research, theoretical model for improvement in women’s participation is released. This model is summarized at a cycle diagram and there are four main elements for this cycle process. Each element plays a significant role in this cycle and they are depended to each other. These following elements are main parts of theoretical model for empowering women’s participation in urban development. Figuring out  women and society’s  capacity to use them in empowerment process Making active  community as a frame work for improving women’s participation Increasing social safety ,knowledge and access for women   Controlling the stages of empowerment process by using  feedback constantly Each element in this model contains different part and subtitle. In the process of testing the hypotheses each subtitle is evaluated then assumed the percentage of its influence at women’s participation in urban development. We use Delphi method in this part of research. Thirty five experts filled out the questionnaires and ranked the effective elements of in women’s participation in order of preference. As a result of this part of research, two factors of making framework and increasing knowledge are the most influential factors in this process. This fact shows that the two hypotheses are right and we can release them as a rule in social studies. Also all results of this research show that focusing on women’s Knowledge improvement raises more expectation in women’s participation in the urban development projects.  This improvement depends on government and the society ability and their action and co-operation. In order to answer the main questions and prove the hypotheses, the research method that is selected for the first part of the study, which deals with the analysis of the related opinions, is descriptive and analytical. Using this method, the main ideas of participation and the role of women in urban development in terms of different approaches of Feminism and Women in Development (WID), and Gender and Development (GAD) are studied and analyzed. Then, the study evaluates the extent to which these theories interact and agree with participatory approaches in urbanism and proposes positive solutions, like women’s empowerment. As a final point, in order to answer the two key questions of the study, the issue of women’s participation in urban development is evaluated using the methods of inference and comparison. And eventually, the pathology guidelines and policies set forth as suggestions to improve women’s participation in urban development. It should be noted that most of these approaches have theoretical and conceptual grounds, and social and cultural features of the local community are of high importance and need to be considered in practicing them in a community.