The Right to the City for Women: Advancing the CSIPDHR and UCLG’s Agenda on Gender Equality

Following the key messages shared by Mexico City, Montreal and Barcelona in their open letter on the Right to the City for Women (2019, March 8), the CSIPDHR proposed the special session “Co-creating Local Policies for Women’s Rights” during Iztapalapa’s IOPD Conference. This event addressed some topical issues in regards to women’s right to the city – such as gender violence, public space access or socio-economic disparities – but focus mainly on the way local authorities can tackle these issues through public policies. 

Speakers were invited to share their points of view and local experiences in fields like gender mainstreaming, political representation, local government networking and, most importantly, women and civil society participation in the definition, implementation and monitoring of municipal strategies on gender equality.

The Iztapalapa session helped to identify emerging policies and measures by which local authorities are increasingly engaging with women residents and women groups to carry out their own local policies in the field; including exploratory feminist walks, workshops at the neighborhood level, collaboratory mapping of residents priorities, cooperation with civil society to implement policies or coordination mechanisms to monitor violence against women and girls.

This event was also a good occasion to take a closer look at how increasingly institutionalized municipal institutions for gender equality are trying to give an answer to expanding demands by citizens and the feminist movement over the last years. These demands address critical human rights and right to the city issues at the local level. The range of local governments led initiatives is wide and grows every year, and includes initiatives to fight women illiteracy, scholarships for girls, national networks of women councillors or tactical urbanism measures to make public spaces and public transportation safer to all women and girls.

The session counted with the participation of Yasmin Pérez, Equality Directress at Mexico City’s Women Secretariat; Martha López, Social Inclusion Directress of Iztapalapa; Imen Ouardani, Sousse Vice-Mayor (Tunis); Silvia Llorente, Project Officer at Metropolis; Dalia Pérez, Project Officer at Arkemetría Social; and a video presentation by Ernestine Ronai and Magali Fricaudet fromthe Seine Saint Denis Departmental Council (France). 

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