How can a gender perspective facilitate more sustainable economic growth and well-being for all? This paper, which was presented at the 15th meeting of the United Nations Commission for Sustainable Development in May 2007, grapples with this question. It offers new pointers for work on sustainable development by identifying gender-specific differences in terms of male and female consumption patterns, lifestyles, and access to resources, and explains how these differences are crucially important for achieving sustainable development. It focuses on issues of mobility and access to transport - since transportation of people and goods represents one of the largest and fastest growing sources of greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn substantially affect the earth's climate. The case is made for promoting sustainable and gender-equitable transport, for example by boosting women's participation in decision-making on community planning, traffic systems and transportation. The need to pay more attention to strengthening the social dimensions of sustainability is also stressed - for example through developing gender-equitable welfare models which focus less on goods and more on services that reduce the ill-health, stress and time poverty experienced disproportionately by women.
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