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Gender Friendly Cities for a Better Urban Future: Sharing practices and challenges

date June 30, 2022 | 14:00 - 15:30
ICC: Voices from Cities Room A
Safetipin/Global Coalition on Safe Cities and Public Spaces for Women
Polish, Spanish, English, French + CART
Equitable urban futures
VC-A 15


Cities are spaces of opportunity and well-being, but not all people equally thrive. Women (especially from vulnerable groups) are constrained by fear, violence and inequitable social norms. Designed, planned and managed through a top-down technocratic approach and influenced by patriarchal socio-cultural norms, cities often do not promote women’s economic and social freedoms, nor foster their well-being and “right to the city”. The lack of safety, constant sense of fear and feeling of being excluded in public spaces impact women across intersectional identities. To encourage women to participate and thrive, our cities should be designed as gender-friendly, gender-responsive and gender-inclusive safe spaces. The COVID-19 pandemic further revealed women’s vulnerabilities in cities, in terms of increased violence as well as burden of the work of care. It is likely that there may be more crises in the near future and the gendered nature of its impacts must be anticipated to prevent further exacerbation of inequities. Over the past decade, there have also been several tools, methodologies, and good practices that cities across the world have deployed and implemented to address these exclusions and lack of safety. The speakers in this session will highlight some of the successes and challenges that led to such praxis from the perspectives of local government, grassroots women, civil society actors and technology for change. The panel will link these city initiatives to the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda (NUA) which have laid out elements and targets for inclusive cities - notably SDG Goal 11 ‘Make cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable’; and its sub-targets. This should be seen in conjunction with SDG 5 on gender equality, which posits that women and girls should be active and demand gender-responsive public spaces, as part of the global agenda to improve the lives of women and girls across the world. Further the NUA makes several references to eliminating gender discrimination and ending VAWG including through equal access to physical and social infrastructure and basic services (para 14 b). The safety of women and girls is also linked with other issues including access to essential services including WATSAN with (para 119) and urban mobility (para 114). Finally, echoing the SDG 5.5, the NUA calls for the empowerment of women and others to participate in urban and territorial development and decision-making (para 155). This session will address the Dialogue 1 for Building Equitable Urban Futures collectively as a Global Coalition of groups working on gender inclusive cities. We plan to link this event to the review of SDG 5 processes and highlight our work as part of the Generation Equality Action Coalition on ending Gender based violence, focusing on gender just governance approaches as well as address challenges in the built environment by amplifying voices from select cities.


1. Sharing tools and methodologies that have been developed and deployed in cities to make them gender friendly and inclusive 2. Sharing policy initiatives by cities to address GBV and women’s vulnerabilities and how they are being implemented 3. Sharing good practices from cities in Latin America, Asia and Africa along with the processes of deploying them and challenges including those faced by women and communities on the ground 4. Co-creating the feminist futures in the context of sustainability, equity and increased precariousness 5. Strengthening the network of working towards gender inclusion and equitable urban futures

Session speakers

Mr Elkin Velasquez
Regional representative
UN Habitat Latin America
Ms. Wanjiru Mbuthia
Grassroot leader
Huairou Commission
Ms. Kalpana Viswanath
Ms. Maite Rodriquez
Women and Habitat Network
Ms Ayanda Roji
General Manager Research and Knowledge Management for City Parks
City of Johannesburg