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Hooshmand Alizadeh

Hooshmand Alizadeh

Academic rank: Associate Professor
ORCID:
Education: PhD.
ScopusId: 22978245100
Faculty: Faculty of Art and Architecture
Address: Dept. of Urban planning and design Faculty of Art and Architecture University of Kurdistan, Pasdaran Boulevard Sanandaj, 6617715175
Phone: 08733666771

Research

Title
The Contribution of Urban Public Space to the Social Interactions and Empowerment of Women
Type
Speech
Keywords
Public space, women, Interaction, Empowerment, Social integration
Year
2021
Researchers Hooshmand Alizadeh

Abstract

For Michel Foucault, a whole history remains to be written about spaces—which would at the same time be the history of powers in appropriation of the public realm. This idea of (in)visible presence under the eye of power can also be ascribed to the work of Henri Lefebvre, who argues that spatial patterns are not absolute, but are influenced by the social and economic systems of the institutions and individuals who exercise political power. This implies that social systems effectively gendered spaces in favor of men and against women. The extent of male domination is such that patriarchal concepts became a dominant form of societal order in the history of humankind, and thus it gradually institutionalized the right of men to control and appropriate public spaces. Accordingly, it becomes clear that the social system effectively creates a kind of dichotomy in social relations of power, particularly an imbalance of power between women and men. The social system and its resulting dichotomy also influence our understanding of space and its uses based on gender in the course of time, which in turn still influences our mentality and behavior in social life. That is why, for Mary Wollstonecraft (1792), access to the public realm is vital to the empowerment of women. To reach empowerment, they should bridge these two spheres of private and public in order to exercise collective power, to reshape the processes of urbanization, and ultimately to reach gender equality and equity. This is what Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women in 2015, commented upon in her speech: “Urban spaces are the most important theaters for the working out of the gender equality and women’s empowerment project”. Urban spaces can serve to break down social barriers, as they can provide women with some much-needed space of their own. In such a space, they might set up a business, for example, or network and interact with other members of the community, furthermore exchange ideas and information, and thus fully participate in community life. Taken together, this suggests that there is an association between public spaces, as the seat of power resources, and women’s empowerment in social life. It means that as much as women’s access to and participation in public spaces is increased, social norms that restrict women’s spatial mobility and participation in public life can be shifted and the process of gaining control over resources and ideology will reach a balance between men and women regarding the idea of their right to the city in general. In other words, the emancipation that is achieved through spatial mobility can lead to a greater level of accomplishment, a soul-stirring sense of confidence, expanded horizons, aspirations, and self-esteem.