The articles highlight results, advocacy and projects that Members and partners are implementing to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.


As part of the Joint Work Programme on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment, the Cities Alliance has launched a new series of articles to showcase the practical work that it is supporting. The articles highlight results, advocacy and projects that both Members and partners are implementing to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.  Here is an overview of the first three articles in the series.

UCLG: Local Realities, Global Transformations: Why Understanding Cities is Essential in Achieving SDG5

In this article, Emilia Saiz, Deputy Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), offers her views on why supporting cities is an essential part of global commitments to empower women.

“Cities are the pillars of the global economy, and so must drive equality if we want to see global change. It is vital to ensure that local governments, as the closest level of government to communities, make women’s empowerment and gender equality a key priority. By doing so, we are helping to ensure urban policies contribute to the fulfilment of SDG 5,” she notes.

Saiz highlights the various ways UCLG promotes women’s leadership and participation in local decision making, including creating women-elected caucuses, facilitating mentoring of women, and engaging with civil society and women’s groups to promote gender-responsive policies in cities.

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SDI: How Data Empowers Women to Drive Change in Informal Urban Settlements

Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI) is a network of community-based federations of the urban poor in 32 countries and hundreds of cities and towns across Africa, Asia, and Latin America. This article examines how SDI’s work, specifically the federations’ use of data, has supported the empowerment of women in slum settlements. At the heart of its approach is the belief that that if the needs of the poorest women in slum settlements are met, the needs of wider urban inhabitants will also ultimately be met.

SDI is contributing to the achievement of the SDGs through supporting the empowerment of women at a local level using community-driven slum data, and then helping to upscale impact through advocacy at different levels. “Gender equality is the foundation. When we come together, we can create sustainable cities and settlements,” says Janet Adu.

As a very active member of Cities Alliance, SDI’s methodologies of facilitating inclusion and participation of informal citizens through a gender lens are now an integral part of all projects being developed by Cities Alliance.

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Migration and Shaping the Inclusive City: the Case of Durban, South Africa

In 2015, Cities Alliance’s Catalytic Fund awarded a grant to Democracy Development Programme, the Africa Solidarity Network and the Urban Futures Centre at Durban University of Technology for a project titled Migration and Shaping the Inclusive City: the case of Durban, South Africa. Its main goal is to inform a city-led response to migration centred on social inclusion, integration and participation.

This article focuses on how the project is tackling the gendered nature of xenophobia in the city and how it is contributing to making women's voices heard. It does this by collecting oral histories of migrant women in Durban (both South African and from other African countries) as the starting point for reflective dialogue with local stakeholders to discuss policy frameworks.

The idea behind the approach is that understanding the narratives of migrant women in Durban is crucial to creating an inclusive policy framework, as it can help dispel negative stereotypes of migrants within the local government and public sphere.

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