January 1, 2011

Women’s Health and the World’s Cities

By: Afaf Ibrahim Meleis, Eugenie L. Birch, Susan M. Wachter

Growing urbanization affects women and men in fundamentally different ways, but the relationship between gender and city environments has been ignored or misunderstood. Women and men play different roles, frequent different public areas, and face different health risks. Women suffer disproportionately from disease, injury, and violence because their access to resources is often more limited than that of their male counterparts. Yet, when women are healthy and safe, so are their families and communities. Urban policy makers and public health professionals need to understand how conditions in densely populated places can help or harm the well-being of women in order to serve this large segment of humanity.

“While global women’s health has received serious attention from scholars, the profound impact of the environment on women’s well-being has been poorly understood until now. Essential reading for anyone working to improve the lives of women.”—Nancy Fugate Woods, University of Washington School of Nursing

Women’s Health and the World’s Cities illuminates the intersection of gender, health, and urban environments. This collection of essays examines the impact of urban living on the physical and psychological states of women and girls in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the United States. Urban planners, scholars, medical practitioners, and activists present original research and compelling ideas. They consider the specific needs of subpopulations of urban women and evaluate strategies for designing spaces, services, and infrastructure in ways that promote women’s health. Women’s Health and the World’s Cities provides urban planners and public health care providers with on-the-ground examples of projects and policies that have changed women’s lives for the better.

“Incredibly relevant in setting out to address primary health issues affecting urban women globally…The book provides valuable insight into urban women’s health issues worldwide. Thanks to its diversity in topics, there is bound to be an intriguing chapter for readers of all backgrounds—academics, researchers, and philanthropists alike.”—Gender, Place, and Culture

Afaf Ibrahim Meleis is Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing and Professor of Nursing and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the author of Theoretical Nursing: Development and Progress.

Eugenie L. Birch is Lawrence C. Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research and Education and Chair of the Graduate Group in City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design.

Susan M. Wachter is Richard B. Worley Professor of Financial Management and Professor of Real Estate and Finance at The Wharton School and Professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania School of Design. Together, Birch and Wachter direct the Penn Institute for Urban Research and are the coeditors of many books, including Global Urbanization, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.


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