The Standing Committee calls for increased participation of women in the construction of democracy at Rabat Summit

Meeting between UCLG President Topbaş and
the Standing Committee on Gender Equality

The UCLG Standing Committee on Gender Equality chaired by Anne Hidalgo, Deputy Mayor of Paris and Co-President of UCLG, came together on the 1st October in Rabat and called for the World Organization to defend the role of women in the new development agenda and suggested concrete steps to combat the lack of representation of women in the UCLG governing bodies. 

The meeting of the Standing Committee on Gender Equality was organized in cooperation with the Network of Local Elected Women of Africa (REFELA) under the title “Women promoting democracy”. 

Around 200 local and regional elected women, representatives from the international community and civil society took part in the meetings in Rabat that featured contributions from Fatimetou Mint Abdelmalick, Mayor of Tevragh-Zeina (Mauritania) and President of REFELA, Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Director of UN Women, Aisa Kirabo, Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Jacqueline Moustache-Belle, Mayor of Victoria (Seychelles) and Co President of UCLG, Najat Zarrouk, Director of Training of the Moroccan Interior Ministry, Annemarie Jorritsma, Mayor of Almere and President of the Association of Municipalities of the Netherlands (VNG), Suranjana Gupta, Coordinator of the Global Campaign on Community Resilience of Huairou Commission, Ayla Serpil Bagriacik, Councillor and President of the Committee for the European Union and Foreign Affairs (Turkey), Emerita Peña, Executive Director of the Union of Dominican Councillors (UNMUNDO), Fatna El Kihel, Mayor of Arbawa-Kenitra (Morrocco) and Carolina Tohá, Mayor of Santiago (Chile). 

Lakshmi Puri highlighted the importance of connecting women’s networks with local governments and promoting joint work between local authority leaders and civil society. This is a work axis that the UCLG Committee is developing in the framework of the agreement with UN Women and the Huairou Commission, represented by Suranjana Gupta

During the meeting, experiences of affirmative applications that were applied in diverse parts of the world were explored in the interest of contributing to the role played by local and regional authorities in the promotion of a more sustainable and just world. Pam McConnell, Councillor of Toronto (Canada) stated that the key step in achieving this involves “getting more women in the electoral lists”. 

For Anne Hidalgo, “the construction of democracy cannot be understood without the prominent input of women and our work must be focussed on presenting concrete proposals that help us to alter the situation in our societies and organizations”. The President therefore called for concrete proposals to be put forward, these materialized in a Declaration that was presented before the UCLG Presidency and General Assembly.  

The inclusion of women in the UCLG Presidency was also celebrated and a call was made for the inclusion of a limited caucus in each section where the gender equality quota has not been met until the gender quotas set by the Organization are met. In view of this, a request was made to UCLG for a meeting, the Global Meeting of Elected Women, every two years. Both proposals were accepted by the Assembly and included in the work plan of the Organization.   During the General Assembly, Fatimetou Mint Abdelmalick declared on behalf of the Committee: “We are convinced that our Organization can advocate for equality and that this effort will make it more representative and stronger. A world in which power is shared equally between women and men will be a better world for all. We invite you, female and male colleagues, to join us in this quest!”

Click here to read the Statement of Local and Regional Elected Women Leaders before the World Summit of Rabat