How Do You Design a City for Women? Ask For Their Input.Callie Beusman9/19/13 7:00pmFiled to: gendercity planninggender mainstreaming8910EditPromoteShare to KinjaToggle Conversation toolsGo to permalinkVienna city planners have been working for decades to create women-friendly public spaces — in a totally groundbreaking move, they've gathered data from actual human women in order to determine how and why women move about the city, and they've incorporated their findings into real city-planning projects.AdvertisementThis is because the city administration of Vienna has enthusiastically adopted a policy of gender mainstreaming, according to Clare Foran, writing in The Atlantic. Here's the definition of gender mainstreaming, as stated by the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women:Gender Mainstreaming is a globally accepted strategy for promoting gender equality. Mainstreaming is not an end in itself but a strategy, an approach, a means to achieve the goal of gender equality. Mainstreaming involves ensuring that gender perspectives and attention to the goal of gender equality are central to all activities — policy development, research, advocacy/ dialogue, legislation, resource allocation, and planning, implementation and monitoring of programmes and projects.Yep. Gender equality can't be a mere afterthought if it's to become a reality: it has to be a policy focus throughout every stage of development. Male privilege isn't entirely maintained and reaffirmed through conscious acts of malice (i.e., a panel of angry wizards sitting in a cave and saying things like, "Let's make it really difficult to get a stroller into the subway and also all periods shall last two weeks. And so it is."). Because women haven't traditionally been in positions of authority, it's understandable (but still awful) that no one would have thought to address woman-specific concerns on a policy level. Taking steps to solve this problem is easy though — all you have to do is ask women about their specific needs, and then listen to what they're saying.As Foran writes, Vienna has adopted gender mainstreaming "in a number of areas of city administration, including education and health care policy," but the area in which it's made the most impact has been urban planning. In 1999, city administrators polled men and women and found that women tend to use public transportation far more than men do. Women also utilize public transport for a wider variety of reasons, including getting to and from family commitments (such as child care and caring for elderly parents). In response to these findings, city planners widened sidewalks to improve pedestrian mobility and increased access to public transport. They also added more lighting to city streets to make traveling at night less threatening.