Today, Metropolis brings together the governments of 137 cities and metropolitan areas. However, only 18 of these local authorities are headed by women. This represents less than 15%, when women are 51% of the world population. Even if the numbers in the statistics are the same (1 and 5), their inverted position reflects the inequality in every area of metropolitan life.
Taking into account our vision of “metropolises for and by their citizens”, we see these 19 women as examples and an inspiration for other women to take on positions in local governments, moving towards a more inclusive and fairer governance of metropolitan areas.
The unequal participation of women in circles of social, political and economic power, however, is not the only factor that leads to significant gender inequalities. Living in situations of dependency, unequal opportunities to own land, water and other resources, limited mobility and troubling levels of violence against women also result in restricted or a complete lack of rights and opportunities for women and girls in our metropolises. That is why it is so important for us to incorporate gender perspectives in the structure of every organisation, in drafts of every public policy, and in the management of every service offered in our metropolises.
Therefore, today is a good opportunity to appreciate the efforts made by all the metropolises that encourage outlining and drawing up policies based on diverse voices and perspectives. So, we reaffirm our commitment to guarantee more inclusive, fair and safe cities.
These are real experiences that we hope will multiply all over the world. Part of our mission is therefore to raise awareness of how our member metropolises are involved and committed to providing the Right to the City for women and girls, by coordinating policies, strategies and methods for safer streets, public squares and public transport.
To do this, Metropolis will be working on a mapping project throughout 2018, focusing on metropolitan policies on gender, safety and public space. We encourage our members to take part in this project by filling out the form available at the following link.
The UN global agenda has already given us a road map: Sustainable Development Goal 5 is to “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”. Meanwhile, the New Urban Agenda includes the commitment to take “measures to promote women’s full and effective participation and equal rights in all fields and in leadership at all levels of decision-making, including in local governments”. Likewise, gender equality –understood as the broad participation of women in politics, as citizens with full rights at every level– represents both a fundamental human right, an objective and a way to build fairer and more inclusive metropolises.
Laura Pérez, President of Metropolis Women