Women, Leadership and Development: leading the global agenda from the front

On 6 December, Mayor of Paris and Chair of the UCLG Standing Committee on Gender Equality, Anne Hidalgo, hosted “Women, Leadership and Development” at Paris City Hall, in the framework of UCLG World Council and the COP 21. The session was a unique opportunity for locally elected women, local government practitioners and associations to discuss the role that gender equality at local level will play in the achievement of the major international development and sustainability agendas.

Opening the event, the Mayor of Paris called for increased representation of women in local institutions, saying "we can't exclude half of humanity from political decision-making". She went on to add, however, that "getting elected is just the first step in changing the world for women", and praised the role of women’s networks in strengthening role of elected local women across the world.

Then, mayors, local leaders and representatives of civil society participated in three roundtable debates. The first on “Local policies and services for equality: local support for SDG 5” explored the role of local policy in the achievement of gender equality and the 2030 Agenda. The second, “A gender-sensitive agenda for Habitat III”, looked at how to harness the Habitat III Conference to put gender equality at the centre of city planning and governance, and the third, “Empowered women: the foundation of resilient cities”, co-organized with C40 Cities, asked how women can contribute their priorities skills and knowledge to build a more sustainable future.


Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris and Chair of the UCLG Standing Committee on Gender Equality:
“As women leaders I encourage us all to take development challenges into our own hands.”

Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General, Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR): 
“It's important to walk the walk on gender equality: in 2013 CEMR got its first female president, Annemarie Jorritsma-Lebbink.”

Monica Fein, Mayor of Rosario, Argentina:
"The fight for gender equality is a long one."

Lydia Dietrich, City Councillor, Munich, CEMR Committee on Equality:
“In Europe fewer than 15% of mayors are women.”

Carolina Tohá, Mayor of Santiago de Chile:
"We need the female voice, which puts care at the centre of public policy. Both men and women can use this voice."

Janet Sanz, Deputy Mayor for Ecology, Urbanism and Mobility, Barcelona:
"Politics is in debt to women for excluding us for so long. We need to feminize politics, which means putting everyday life, care work, at the centre of public policy."

Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi, Secretary General, UCLG-ASPAC:
“The issue of rural urban linkages will be key in the New Urban Agenda.”

Esther Mwaura, Coordinator, GROOTS Kenya:
"Women on the ground tell me they need formal spaces in which to collaborate with local governments."

Celestine Ketcha Courtès, Mayor of Bangangté, Cameroon:
“Anne Hidalgo has strength and resilience as a woman leader. She represents us!”

Mildred Crawford, President, Jamaica Network of Rural Women Producers, Vice President, Caribbean Network of Rural Women, representing the Huairou Commission:
“The gender equality agenda is key to feed the world. Small women producers play an instrumental role in feeding cities. The empowerment of women in the management of agriculture is very important to fight against climate change."

David Lucas Parrón, Mayor of Móstoles, Spain:
"I’m here because I believe it’s important for men to get involved in gender equality."

Celia Blauel, Deputy Mayor for Environment, Paris: 
"Look at the heads of state at COP21, we have a long way to go on female representation."

Catherine Cullen, Councillor of Lille-Métropole and President of the UCLG Committee on Culture:
“Women are too often excluded from the right to access cultural heritage.”

Fatimetou Abdel Malick, Mayor of Tevragh Zeina, Mauritania:
“The arrival of women mayors in Barcelona and Madrid is great. Finally Europe is catching up with Africa!”
“60% of the poorest people in Africa are women. The feminisation of poverty is a huge problem,"

Pam McConnell, Councillor of Toronto:
“We have a responsibility to ensure that the voices of women vulnerable to climate change are heard.”

Gültan Kışanak, Mayor of the Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality:
“The issue of refugees will need to be included in the New Urban Agenda and tackled from a gender perspective”

Reta Jo Lewis, Senior Resident Fellow German Marshall Fund:
"Lead from the front. That's where women will make the difference."

A full report of the results of the session will be available soon.

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