Sexist Cities

Apologies for my long absence from the blogosphere – I’ve been moving cities. I’ll be sure to take note, in my new residence, of how sexist my new city is. Yep, see here, for details of a study on how much town planning takes insufficient notice of recent gender equality planning regulations. Viv Groskop writes:

‘The report, by Dr Gemma Burgess of Cambridge University, concluded that the vast majority of town planners are ignoring the gender equality planning regulations that were brought in last year. This is significant, because if public spaces were designed with women in mind, they would look entirely different, with much more lighting, better-situated car parks and more areas where residential and office spaces are mixed, making it far easier to juggle work and childcare.’

 A good example of standpoint theory?

“Designers see themselves at the end of their pencil – or their mouse,” says Wendy Davis [of Women’s Design Service]. “Until about 15 years ago most architects and planners were men. They saw themselves moving through this environment. Because they were men and they were car drivers, they were interested in keeping commuters moving. It’s the same issue as with disability. They didn’t understand how a 15mm lip on a kerb could upset a buggy or a wheelchair. Not that they were being sexist – it just didn’t occur to them.”

Of course, important to distinguish the two issues: planning that accommodates primary care givers (easily accessible creches, walkways suitable for buggies), and planning that accommodates women (more space to accommodate an equal number of female toilets). And planning that will accommodate men and women: better lit spaces, seats that are not built for a narrow conception of what men’s bodies are like (6ft6).

Clara Greed, professor of inclusive urban planning at the University of the West of England writes:

‘what is good for women is good for everyone. It will create better cities for all’

CFP: grad student conference

  University of Kentucky Philosophy Graduate Student Association
12th Annual Conference
April 18th 2009
University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky

Call for Papers

Perception and Human Experience

Keynote Speaker:  Dr. Susanna Siegel, Harvard University

Dr. Siegel will speak on cognitive penetrability and perceptual
justification, arguing that several popular theories of perceptual
justification make false predictions in cases where perceptual
are cognitively penetrated.

We invite submissions from graduate students to our 12th annual graduate
student conference.  We encourage submissions from various academic
disciplines interested in exploring the interdisciplinary roles of
perception and its connection to human experience. Submissions should
philosophically broach the question of sensory modalities and what they

By submitting an abstract and outline, the author agrees that upon
conference admittance, he or she will prepare and submit a draft
by March 1, 2009. Only submissions that adhere to the following
will be considered.

Defending US women’s rights again: the time is running out

From Hillary Clinton and Cecile Richards in the NY Times on proposed legislation that allows health care providers to refuse reproductive health services they find ‘offensive’:

Many circumstances unrelated to reproductive health could also fall under the umbrella of “other medical procedures.” Could physicians object to helping patients whose sexual orientation they find objectionable? Could a receptionist refuse to book an appointment for an H.I.V. test? What about an emergency room doctor who wishes to deny emergency contraception to a rape victim? Or a pharmacist who prefers not to refill a birth control prescription?

The Bush administration argues that the rule is designed to protect a provider’s conscience. But where are the protections for patients?

The 30-day comment period on the proposed rule runs until Sept. 25. Everyone who believes that women should have full access to medical care should make their voices heard. Basic, quality care for millions of women is at stake.


And thanks to Jender for her earlier post.