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Flower workers are often exposed to pesticides. Holambra, Brazil.
Source: Ron Giling/Still Pictures

Men and women may be exposed to different hazards.
Source: Peter Frischmuth/Still Pictures

Until recently, the link between gender, the environment and urbanization was mostly seen as rural women being left behind in rural areas to take care of agriculture, while men migrated to cities in search of a better income. This focus has slowly expanded to include the impact of urban environments on women.

In many developing countries, people migrating as unskilled labourers to a city face a challenge in accessing even basic necessities such as food, water, and housing, and they are vulnerable to exploitation and economic abuse.

Air and water pollution can be extreme in urban settings, and sanitation and waste treatment poor or non-existent in low-cost residential areas and slums. Housing tenure patterns in towns and cities are sometimes gender distorted: it is often harder for women to have secure tenure of their housing or land. In addition, inequitable inheritance practices leave female-headed households extremely vulnerable, especially where land grabbing occurs. Many urban households have female heads, and typically these are poorer and more vulnerable than households with a couple (Seager 2003).

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