#SheisWe: More Power to Women

From 5-6 June 2018, Brussels hosted the European Development Days (EDD) forum. Along with our partners and members, Cities Alliance co-organised three sessions at the forum, which were unique in that they amplified the voices of women leaders from Africa and Latin America.
#SheisWe: More Power to Women

 

By Honey Mehta, Cities Alliance Communications Team

 

[11 June  2018] -- From 5-6 June 2018, Brussels hosted the European Development Days (EDD) forum. EDD is an annual opportunity for the development community to gather and share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to pressing challenges faced by cities and countries around the world.

Giving more power to women, the focus this year for the EDD forum was Women and Girls at the Forefront of Sustainable Development: protect, empower, invest. When women are empowered, protected, and invested in, there are benefits for all of us. It is a theme integral to the Cities Alliance’s Strategic Plan 2018–21, which highlights gender equality and women’s empowerment as one of our four main pillars.

Along with our partners and members, Cities Alliance co-organised three sessions at the EDD 2018. Our sessions were unique in that they amplified the voices of women leaders from Africa and Latin America. For the first time, a panel had three female mayors from secondary cities of Africa. We invited mayors from Liberia, Uganda, and Ghana to learn about the challenges and opportunities in secondary cities.
 

 

Overview of the Sessions

Session 1: Equal(c)ity:

Speakers:

  --  Pam Belcher-Taylor, Mayor, Paynesville City Corporation

  --  Werner Schmidt, Director, European Investment Bank (EIB)

  --  Angela Muruli, FORWARD (Foundation for Women’s Health, Research and Development)

  --  Dr. Laura Lima, Gender Specialist, Cities Alliance

  --  Nick O'Regan, Director, Infrastructure and Project Management Group, United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

  --  Paolo Ciccarelli, European Commission - DG for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO)

  --  Fatin Ali Mohamed, Industrial Development Officer, UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organization)

 

Co-organised by UNOPS and Cities Alliance, this session discussed various approaches to making communities more sustainable and accessible for women from an infrastructure, governance, and economic point of view.

The session was moderated by Dr Laura Lima. A city that works for women, works for all. The panellists highlighted that for creating inclusive cities, it is important for to women be part of the decision-making process and not just be end users.

From an infrastructure perspective, Nick O’Regen pointed out that "Men and women use and benefit from infrastructure differently…and this needs to be considered. Failure to take this into account can have detrimental effects." The discussion further advanced into women working in the informal economy and how to train them to support themselves.



Session 2: Shaping Inclusive Public Spaces

Speakers:

  --  Dr. Laura Lima, Gender Specialist, Cities Alliance

  --  Lucinda Terrazas Lujan, Communitariar Leader, Fundación Avina

  --  Gwendoline Mennetrier, Chief Technical Advisor, UN-Habitat

  --  Justina Marigold Assan, Mayor, Agona West Municipal Assembly

  --  Eulalia Elena Moreno De Acevedo Yague, Director Of Urbanism, Director Of Urbanism, Regional Government of Extremadura

 

Coorganised by Fundacion Avina and Cities Alliance, this session, moderated by Dr Laura Lima, brought in contributions that women have made in generating inclusive public spaces. Fundacion Avina provided insight into its regional programme on public spaces; Ms Lucinda Lujan, a community leader from Lima, told her story of how she overcame obstacles to obtain basic services and parks for children in her city.

Ms Mennetrier,of  UN-Habitat, discussed various initiatives they have taken to create inclusive public spaces, this included using virtual reality games, providing training and publishing publications on the subject.

Mayor Justina Assan spoke how they are overcoming gender inequality challenges in her municipality by creating associations to support women, provide training and make them self-sufficient.
 


Session 3: Talking to Female Mayors from Africa

Speakers:

  --  Ms. Pam Belcher-Taylor, Mayor of Paynesville, Liberia

  --  Ms. Grace Mary Mugasa, Mayor of Hoima, Uganda

  --  Ms. Justina Assan, Mayor of Agona Swedru, Ghana

  --  Anna Lixi, Head of Section, Local Authorities, DEVCO

  --  Dr. Laura Lima, Gender Specialist, Cities Alliance

 

Cities Alliance organised a special session at EDD 2018 to give participants the chance to listen first-hand from female mayors about the challenges and opportunities in leading secondary cities, in East (Uganda) and West Africa (Ghana and Liberia). They shed light on tapping the potential of secondary cities through gender equality.

Moderated by Dr Laura Lima, the session began with each mayor retelling how they became mayors. To know about the obstacles these women fought to be where they are, challenging norms and beating the odds, it was 45 minutes of inspiration. Mayor Mugasa, from Hoima, Uganda spoke about how she was the first women mayor in her municipality and was competing with seven men. Mayor Assan, from Agona Swedru, Ghana, stated different initiatives she began in her municipality to address gender inequality. The session was the perfect end to the EDD 2018.
 


Cities Alliance in conversation with Ms Grace Mary Mugasa, Mayor of Hoima, Uganda, at EDD 2018

 

Cities Alliance's EDD sessions were unique in that they amplified the voices of women leaders from Africa and Latin America. 

 

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The Cities Alliance JWP for Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment

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