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“Women and the city” discussed by mayors and experts in Chile

By on January 28, 2016

Santiago de Chile, 18-21 January 2016

During the 3rd Latin-American Summit of Local Agendas for Gender Equality: “Women and the City”, ibero-american mayors and experts discussed in Santiago de Chile the challenge of designing inclusive cities, where women participate actively in public policies, the processes of transformation and sustainable urban development.

Ana Falu, Gender Hub coordinator, participated in the First Session of Sectoral Conference, with Manuela Carmena, mayor of Madrid, Spain; Carolina Tohá Morales, Mayor of Santiago, Chile; Daniela Chacon Arias, Vice Mayor and City Council Member at Quito City Council, Ecuador, and Claudia Pascual, Minister-Director of the National Women’s Service of Chile.

“So far, the city planning policy has been omitting women but this is changing,” said –according to EFE– Ana Falu, expert in gender and habitat of the University of Cordoba, Argentina, during the meeting.

Falu explained, before an audience of 400 personalities from 21 countries, that the introduction of the gender perspective in public policies is transforming the planning and management of cities, because it not only stimulates the equal use of urban space but also helps to identify conflicts that remain hidden.

One is the problem of sexual harassment in public transport, a type of violence that the city of Quito, Ecuador, seeks to eradicate through a municipal project that provides specialized support to victims and advises them to denounce the aggressors.

“Violence against women has left the private space and is installed in the public as a normal situation, that’s something we should not tolerate,” Daniela Chacon during her speech at the summit .

Manuela Carmena stood for the change of mentality in local public policies, which -she said- should focus less on “establishing rights” and more on ensuring “the care of the citizens.”

The so-called “care policy” was one of the major announcements that she launched after taking over as mayor of the Spanish capital in June last year.

“What does this have to do with feminism and gender policy integration? A lot, because it has to do with changing the culture of the society. We want to change women’s rights only to guarantee the rights of all”, she said.

UN Women organized the meeting among other organizations, like the Latin American Municipal Union (UIM), the Municipality of Santiago and the Chilean Association of Municipalities in order to exchange experiences related management of local public policies and advance towards gender equality.

The meeting was an opportunity to rethink the development of cities from the perspective of gender equality and social justice.