Resistance and reproduction: urban poor women and the struggle for a socially just urban future in Manila

Hazel M. Dizon, Arnisson Andre C. Ortega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Women play a key role in organized urban poor resistance in Manila. While social reproduction has led to exploitation and suffering, it concomitantly situates women at the front and center of urban resistance and the re-imagination of urban futures. The turbulent everyday geographies of informal settlements which subaltern women inhabit, not only blur the tendencies to separate production from reproduction, but also provide the conditions from which urban struggles are forged. Women have risen to assert the urban poor’s right to the city and access to better services and sustainable livelihoods. Contrary to gendered perceptions of urban poor activists as being primarily male, women are instrumental in the struggle for urban social justice. Drawing from engagements with urban poor women leaders in Manila, we examine the gendered spaces of the urban struggle by foregrounding the everyday spaces that urban poor women inhabit. We explicate the spaces of interaction between social reproduction and resistance and focus on three aspects in building and nurturing the urban poor movement: (1) networking and membership expansion, (2) daytime mobilization, and (3) community building. We argue that while spaces of social reproduction are sites of oppression and suffering for many urban poor women, the proximity to these spaces enables them to become immersed in the struggles and issues that plague their communities and to collectively take action towards creating a sustainable urban future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalGender, Place and Culture
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Feminist geography
  • social movement
  • social reproduction
  • subaltern women
  • urban global South
  • urban resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Demography
  • Cultural Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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