UCLG-ASPAC, AIILSG organize ‘Leadership Workshop’ for elected women representatives

NEW DELHI: Gender equality and women’s empowerment is an essential component of sustainable development. Despite advances on raising gender equality in many countries and fields, gender inequality persists everywhere and stagnates social progress. Women and girls in some countries are deprived of access to education, proper healthcare, or employment hence hindering their full participation in society and hampering the development of their potential. In an urbanising world, women constituting half the population still have a very limited role in urban governance – policy and decision-making as they are not adequately represented in the urban local bodies.
Taking a larger picture into account All India Institute of Local Self-Government organized one day women leadership summit as part of 4th South Asian Cities Summit on 3rd May. Local governments and their officials, particularly women leaders, are important actors in transforming the prevailing circumstances. Indeed, one of the targets of the Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality speaks of “ensuring women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life.” With the increasingly importance of role played by women in growth and development of cities throughout the world, the issue of gender equality has become significant in urban development.
The relevance of gender quality and women empowerment in sustainable development has been highlighted in various intergovernmental commitments such as Agenda 21, Rio Declaration, Millennium Development Goals, Sustainable Development Goals etc. This has been universally endorsed by governments, donors, women’s movements, civil society and other stakeholders.
The objective of the summit was to increase knowledge and understanding about the concept of leadership and how women in leadership position can use their role to bring about the desired changes by promoting gender equality and women’s rights, to enhance skills on leadership and how to optimize participation in local government processes to promote improved service delivery and to strengthen capacity of women leaders and continuously participate in governance
The summit brought together newly elected mayors, officials of local government with commitment to gender equality and also agencies key agencies that can accelerate progress of gender equality. Hansa Patel, Executive Advisor, AIILSG gave the welcome address and emphasized that there is a need to ‘ encourage sharing of knowledge as a human resource and we must discuss critical issues of urbanisation and modernisation and ways to move closer to Gender Equality in India and across the globe. Education will play an important role to achieve these objectives”.
Dr Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi, Secretary General, UCLG ASPAC in her address said that there is a lack of initiative from mayors and local government officials to bring gender equality. Men focus on the big things like infrastructure whereas women’s are inclined towards soft and minor things and try to see things from the grassroots level. Young people can change the society. Through the day notable experts from the field addressed the summit and that included Rina Shah, former mayor of bhavnagar, Kalpanan Vishwanath, CEO, Safetipin, Manju Malasi, Mayor, Silgadhi municipality of Nepal Nivedita khandekar, senior journalist and activist.
Later in the day participants discussed the issues like ‘Women’s Empowerment Leads to Sustainable Development’ that included role of women in local bodies and mobilizing women to lead sustainable development goals. Post lunch session was dedicated to ‘Innovative Urban Governance and City Leadership – Role of Women in Urban Transformation’. Participants also discussed two modules during the sessions on Participatory Budgeting and the second module was ‘Self-Assessment of Councils’ Performance.

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