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Safe in Public Space? Gender Equal Cities in Bilbao 12 June 2018

Edited on

12 June 2018

#CEMRBilbao2018 #GenderEqualCities

Diversity, Equality, Inclusion is the title of the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) Bilbao Conference

The URBACT Gender Equal Cities initiative will be present and several of its members will play an active role in the conference.


Sally Kneeshaw, one of the coordinators of the initiative, will be both presenting and trendspotting during the conference, looking for new ideas and interesting practices that can be integrated in the scouting work of Gender Equal Cities.

Jaimie Just, Policy Officer for Gender Equality and Diversity, has coordinated the sessions at the conference.

Linda Gustafsson, from Umea, an URBACT Good Practice gender equality at the heart of the city, will also be present.

On gender Equality in cities 2 specific sessions, on 12 June, from 9:00 to 11:00, focus on:

  • Participation, Politics and Power
  • Safe public spaces, online and in town

Gender equality is a cornerstone of human rights, democracy and social justice. This 2-part session explores how local action can play a pivotal role in achieving gender equality and empowerment objectives that have been adopted in international commitments such as the Beijing Platform for Action, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Developments and the New Urban Agenda. Each part will last one hour.

The first part focuses on the equal participation and influence of women and men, both as citizens and in public office, as a prerequisite for effective democracy and good governance. United Cities and Local Governments, of which CEMR is the European section, estimates that around 20% of councillors and just 5% of mayors globally are women. This imbalance is undemocratic and must be rectified. As the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, said: “We can’t exclude half of humanity from political decision-making.”

Speakers include:

The second part explores issues linked to public space and safety - online and on the ground. Women and girls around the world fear and experience various types of sexual violence in public spaces, from unwanted sexual remarks and touching to rape and femicide.

It happens on streets, in and around schools, public transportation, schools, workplaces, public toilets, and parks in urban, rural, settings. Cyber violence is also significant, according to a 2016 study by Women Political Leaders Global Forum, nearly half of the respondents to a survey about their use of social media – from every country, background, age, position and party – had received insulting or threatening comments about women’s ability and/or role.

Speakers include:

  • Sibel Uyar, Mayor of Urla (TUR)
  • Laura Capobianco, UN Women, Global Advisor, Safe Public Spaces, Ending Violence against Women and Girls Section
  • Sally Kneeshaw, URBACT, Gender Equal Cities capitalisation work programme
  • Éva Kail, Chief Executive Officer of Vienna (AUT), Safety for women in Vienna’s public spaces

The session is moderated by Viviane Teitelbaum, Deputy Brussels Parliament, Alderwoman Ixelles commune, President Council of Francophone Women of Belgium

URBACT holds a stand on the conference grounds, so you are welcome to meet up with the team there and bring your input to the initiative’s work

Want to take part to the Gender Equal Cities Initiative? Join the LinkedinGroup.