Cities for Women
Cities Alliance strongly believes that women are sources of positive and transformational change in cities, and as a partnership, we are committed to helping make this change happen.

Cities have a key role in empowering women

Cities Alliance envisions a world where all women and girls can live in inclusive and equitable cities and communities

With the urban percentage of the world's population reaching 60 per cent by 2030, cities have a key role to play in promoting gender equality and empower women and girls. Cities are on the frontline of tackling violence against women in both the public and private spheres, and urban policies and planning, particularly the creation and maintenance of public spaces, are essential tools in tackling violence against women. In terms of equal access to local resources, city authorities can also make a difference, by providing legal aid services that support women in exercising their rights and supporting women’s participation in land governance institutions and policy-making processes.

 

Women understand their needs and requirements best, and without their engagement and representation, these needs cannot be met.

 

Therefore, cities must encourage and enable female representation across all levels and spheres of urban governance including but not limited to budgeting, planning and building. This can be achieved through a mix of anti-discrimination and positive action measures, and additional support through leadership training, flexible working, and affordable childcare provision.

Overview Gender

Programme Description

The Cities for Women Global Program offers support to meet its objectives, including the following types of activities: 

1. Local Participatory Action Research: co-designing and co-conducting short term research with community partners to raise collective awareness, kick start action, and institutionalise change.

2. Global Platform for Knowledge Exchange: Activities designed to analyse, compare and evaluate project’s outcomes and local knowledge in order to improve awareness of relevant policies or activities, influencing policies and behaviour, and contribute to global debates on women inclusion in urban development. 

3. A Country Program on Inclusive Urban Development: Longer-term programmatic support, at a multiple city / national scale.

 

Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.
Jane Jacobs

Pilot Projects

Cities Alliance envisions a world where all women and girls can live in inclusive and equitable cities and communities.

The Cities for Women Global Programme aims at increasing girls’ and women’s engagement in urban development and governance through a participatory approach, applying a cyclical, reflexive process of exploration, co-creation, experimentation, and evaluation in all its activities and projects. 

In order to achieve that, in the coming months Cities Alliance will implement a series of pilot projects in selected cities.​

Medina city

 

Femmedina – Inclusive City Program in Tunis

Public spaces in Tunisia have been instrumental in providing avenues for women to be equal participants in the cultural and political transformation of their Country and communities. In this sense, looking at public space through a gender lens allows for greater insight on how half of the world's population participates in community and cultural life. ​

​An opportunity for doing this is the Medina of Tunis. Urban services in the Medina are lacking and almost all the housing stock and public spaces need to be rehabilitated. The poor conditions in which most of the Medina population live prompted a move towards the periphery of Tunis and thus the Medina slowly started to lose its inhabitants. Some historic rehabilitation projects have been undertaken in the last years with a strong focus on tourist facilities and services. Often efforts to clean up and revitalize neighborhoods, are accomplished through a combination of city beautification measures and the displacement of people which are perceived by the public as carriers of crime, disorder, and disease.

The typical example is a formerly low-income neighborhood where longtime residents and businesses are displaced by white-collar workers and overpriced coffeehouses. Regeneration projects end up destroying social networks and having a negative impact on women, as they are more likely to rely on local community networks than men. The involvement of the local community and women in the process of urban renewal is necessary in order to create spaces that reflect stories and needs of people who live there. In addition to ensuring adequate consideration of gender equality and the socially vulnerable, we also need women participating in the projects with a sense of agency. Therefore, the Medina needs to make ‘woman-friendliness’ a central part of its urban regeneration.

As Salma Belhassine, a 21-year-old activist from Tunisia said, on the occasion of the UNDP Youth Leadership Programme, “it would be a better world if women and girls felt safe in public spaces. Women would be more active, more productive” ​


medenine

USAID and CA Logo

 

Programme Description

First Component

A participatory assessment of the economic, politic-institutional, spatial and civic-cultural aspects of women’s participation in the Medina of Tunis and the definition of policy and planning recommendations. 

In this phase representatives from local institutions and organizations (i.e. technical teams from the municipality, business representatives and professionals networks, NGOs, advocacy groups’ representatives, women’s associations and groups) collectively assess the level of engagement of women in the Medina on four main levels, economic, political-institutional, social and spatial. ​

Second Component

The creation and construction of women-led public space projects in the Medina of Tunis ​

This component will test an innovative and comprehensive approach for planning, implementing, and managing safe and inclusive public spaces in Tunis. The location and vocation (playground, culture, sport…) of the public space will reflect the directions identified during the participatory assessment of the first sub-component. The specific uses and facilities of the space will be defined through a participatory and iterative process ​

​Third Component

A city-to-city exchange to share the approach and result of the Tunis activities with other Tunisian cities ​

The successful implementation of the action in the long-term will rely substantially on the women-led public spaces pilot projects being replicated at scale and informing future interventions in Tunis and other Tunisian cities. 

Participatory workshops

Improving the integration of gender mainstreaming in local public policies in the cities of Béja and Médenine

Aswat Nissa Cities, in partnership with Cities Alliance and Heinrich-Böll Stiftung, has launched a project entitled "Improving gender mainstreaming in local public policies" for the municipalities of the city of Béja and Médenine. 

The project is driven by the objective of reducing gender inequalities in the Tunisian context of decentralization of powers. It will make it possible to identify the specific gender needs of the two municipalities and to encourage the participation of women in the various decision-making processes while seeking close collaboration and involvement of the municipalities. Ultimately, the project aims to promote a culture of gender equality in Tunisia by developing strategies aimed at supporting female leadership.

A study was undertaken as part of this project which analyzes the process of gender mainstreaming in local policies by presenting the results of two surveys conducted among citizens and local elected officials in Médenine and Béja and identifying measures to reduce gender disparities within the city of Médenine and Béja.

Report: Gender Analysis in Médenine and Béja - Tunisia

medenine report

City for Women Laboratory in Nepal

Taking the opportunity of the post-earthquake and post-COVID recovery, UNOPS Nepal and Cities Alliance plan a series of laboratories in Nepal that bring national and local institutions, women-led organizations and other key stakeholders to collectively explore potential ideas for women empowerment in urban planning and policy.

Background

Despite having different scales and types of public spaces with considerable women engagement in the past in traditional core areas of Kathmandu, the newly expanding city lacks public spaces that includes the current day needs and necessities of women in general. The limited number of open spaces often lack streetlights and security provision (CCTV camera / security personnel) that questions safety of women at night times when there are maximum chances of increased crime rates. There are very few public toilets and those that are there are rarely provided with water supplies and sanitation facilities. This has been discouraging females to use parks and other public amenities. The public buildings are also often gender blind that shut eyes to the requirements of women and people with disabilities. The limited public transportation is another factor that adds to limiting women to use public spaces in the given time frame only. 

The Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) has prepared GESI Operational Guidelines, 2013 which aims to provide increased access of women, poor and excluded communities to urban development resources and its benefits. However, despite several efforts to internalize the GESI agenda at project level, the real participation of women in urban development and governance is still lacking. Thus, post-earthquake reconstruction phase should be grasped as an opportunity to recreate urban spaces and policies with gender inclusion addressing the needs and necessities of people of all age-group, gender and abilities.

Nepal 1

The City for Women Laboratory

Within the post-earthquake reconstruction portfolio, the UNOPS Nepal Office is providing socio-technical assistance to individual households, developing innovative approaches to retrofitting earthquake-damaged homes and delivering services to the most vulnerable households, ensuring nobody is left behind.

Taking the opportunity of the post-earthquake and post-covid recovery, UNOPS Nepal and Cities Alliance plan a series of online and off-line laboratories that bring national and local institutions, women-led organizations and other key stakeholders to collectively explore potential ideas for women empowerment in urban planning and policy and to think together about the city they want in the future.

Project Roadmap

2020

August: UNOPS and Cities Alliance key stakeholder met to discuss indicators and methodological approach to assess the inclusion of women in city policies and programmes

September: partners distribution of an individual survey organisation of collaborative workshops with local stakeholders to assess how the city's infrastructure and services are supporting women in their daily lives

2021

UNOPS and Cities Alliance will assist women's groups to perform spatial assessments of public spaces and neighbourhood amenities and provide recommendations

The results of this engagement will inform the development of new towns in the Kathmandu Valley and the recovery plan.

Nepal 2 - Equality

Inclusive Greater Banjul

Cities Alliance is supporting the Greater Banjul 2040 plan by providing guidance, tools and technical assistance to make the Urban Plan a tool of women's social and economic empowerment.

Starting from August 2020, Cities Alliance and UNOPS Gambia will organize a series of online and off-line engagements with local stakeholders to include a gender perspective and women’s demands into city policies and planning.

Women in Banjul

Project background

Greater Banjul 2040 With the assistance of the African Development Bank, UNOPS is supporting the Government of The Gambia to create a Digital Urban Plan for its capital city and surroundings, the Greater Banjul Area.

The Urban Plan will drive the city's development for the next 20 years in terms of land use and infrastructure. The Digital Urban Plan aims at improving urban services to the population to support its development, including climate resilience, economic development and social inclusion.

Women in Banjul

 

Project Roadmap

Cities Alliance is supporting UNOPS in this project by providing guidance, tools and technical assistance to make the Urban Plan a tool of women's social and economic empowerment.

2020

August: UNOPS and Cities Alliance organised a survey of women in the Greater Banjul area to assess how the city's infrastructure and services are supporting women in their daily lives.

September: partners will organise workshops with women's groups to discuss the survey results and propose recommendations of measures to include in the Urban Plan.

2021

UNOPS and Cities Alliance will assist women's groups to perform spatial assessments of public spaces and neighbourhood amenities and provide recommendations.

The results of this engagement will be included in the Digital Urban Plan due in July 2021.

 

Photos credit: UNOPS

Women transforming Montserrado

While Liberian women play a huge role in shaping the social, economic and political landscape of the country, their empowerment on the ground is yet to happen.

This is evident in the low literacy rate (41% compared to 51 % for men), high rate of maternal mortality, the fact that seventy-four percent of all female workers in Liberia are informal laborers, high rates of gender-based violence, and women’s restricted mobility in the city.

Since 2017 the Cities Alliance Country Programme is supporting the production of a city development strategy (CDS) for the Greater Montserrado Metropolitan Area, providing a long-term and strategic framework for the city and its citizens. It is an essential process and instrument that provides clarity and certainty to citizens and investors alike.

The CDS process is an opportunity to better understand, reflect upon and implement the needs, expectations, capacities and will of women in all age groups.  Their full inclusion is crucial to achieving sustainable urban development.

image flyer Liberia

Urban Assessment Workshop in Liberia from a gender perspective

Therefore, on the 18th of September, Cities Alliance is planning a workshop gathering local stakeholders, with a focus on women-organizations from informal communities, to share experiences, knowledge and perceptions on the current engagement of women in the various dimensions of their environments. The objectives of the workshop are to improve gender-awareness of city policy makers and local stakeholders; identify obstacles and enablers for women’s engagement in urban governance and planning and promote women’s active engagement in city governance and planning.  The results of this engagement will inform the CDS for the Greater Montserrado Metropolitan Area and specific COVID-19 response actions in informal settlements.

Project Roadmap

September: Urban Assessment Workshop to discuss obstacles and enablers of women engagement in city development and identify a series of priorities for the CDS and future actions.

October 2020 through April 2021: Focus-group meetings will be organised with women-led organisations and community organisations to discuss the construction and maintenance of water kiosks and discuss long-term management plans.

 

Advocacy and Learning

Equal Image Advocacy

The Programme will raise awareness on the relevance of a city-wide approach to gender equality and women’s empowerment, informing on good practices, capitalizing on different  strengths and expertises for mainstreaming gender perspectives into political and policy dialogues at international, national and local levels, on-ground capacity building, and dissemination of knowledge through publications, results-based reports, methodologies, and tools.

Selected Resources

Publications

Gender Mainstreaming in Projects 

Realizing Gender Equality in Cities

Gender Analysis in Médenine and Béja - Tunisia

Gender Responsive Public Services: Pathways to Equitable Economic Growth in Cities

Blogs

We Want Our Cities to Go Back to Normal. Rather Not

The EU should learn from Cities to Advance Gender Equality

Why We Need Women’s Leadership in the COVID-19 Response? the Case of Kampala

Gender mainstreaming in local public policies in Tunisia

Events

WEBINAR- The Feminist City

WEBINAR - Learning from Cities to Advance Gender Equality

The importance of gender equality in a time of crisis - How do we move from theory to action?

WEBINAR - Beyond the Revolution: Women's Political and Cultural Participation in Tunisia

 

Selected 2020 updates

 

Events

Webinar, Post-COVID-19 Era: Building the Future of Cities, UCLG-MEWA Executive Bureau, and Council, October 2020

Webinar, Daring Cities 2020: The global virtual forum for urban leaders taking on the climate emergency, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, October 2020

Seminar, 33rd RETE Meeting, Livorno, RETE (Association for the Collaboration between Ports and Cities), October 2020

Event, Forum of Mayors October 2020

Event, SDG 11 "Supporting city actions for a resilient future", UNECE Committee on Urban Development, Housing, and Land Management October 2020

Workshop, Women transforming Montserrado - Urban Assessment Workshop in Liberia from a gender perspective (by invitation only)  September 2020

Event, Gender & Urban Space in times of COVID September 2020

Workshop, Inclusive Greater Banjul Workshop, (by invitation only), September 2020

Webinar, Learning from Cities to Advance Gender Equality  June 2020

Webinar, The Feminist City  April 2020

Reports

Report: Gender Analysis in Medenine - Tunisia September 2020

Articles

Article: India: “Women Left the City and Won’t Come Back” June 2020

Article: Why We Need Women’s Leadership in the COVID-19 Response? the Case of Kampala  May 2020

Article: Gender mainstreaming in local public policies in Tunisia March 2020

Article: We Want Our Cities to Go Back to Normal. Rather Not  April 2020

Article: The EU should learn from Cities to Advance Gender Equality  March 2020

Videos

Tunisia: Cities Alliance Cities for Women Programme 

Campaigns

Campaign: International Women's Day March 8th 2020 

 

woman