Paris plays host to the Global Conference of Local Elected Women
The conference “Gender Equality, a Priority for Global Development”, organised by Paris City Council with the support of UCLG and Metropolis, was held on 31 January and 1 February. The conference brought together participants from different parts of the world, among whom were representatives from various antennae of the Metropolis Women International Network, including Abidjan, Dakar, Pune, Santiago de Chile, Barcelona and Brussels.
The conference revealed the need for ongoing work to foster the ever-increasing participation of women in local decision-making. To this end, a Plan of Action was put forward to make the participation of women in decision-making across all spheres (political, economic, financial and human development) a priority on the United Nations Post-2015 Global Development Agenda.
“Gender equality on the agenda of local public policies and adequate service provision to contribute towards women’s empowerment and the improvement of their conditions” was one of the central themes of debate at the conference. Women continue to represent the sector of society that is most affected by poverty. They bear the direct and indirect impact of the financial and economic crisis. Economic growth does not necessarily translate into greater gender equality. Middle-income countries, including the BRIC nations, continue to have considerable numbers of poor people, of which a disproportionately large majority are women.
Other topics of discussion included “Increasing women’s participation in local decision-making to guarantee fair representation” in which local authorities play a key role when developing policies that give precedence to gender equality, and “Safer cities for women”. Local and regional authorities underlined the importance of establishing legislation on violence and harassment against women and of recognising the specific needs of women in conflict and post-conflict situations.
Preparations are now underway in Metropolis to successfully bring to fruition the 3rd International Forum Dynamic Cities Need Women, to be hosted by the city of Abidjan (Ivory Coast) from 24 to 27 September 2013, under the title of “Women and Armed Conflicts”.