We need feminist urban policies to make the lives of women and girls better and to give them space in urban life and society.
On this International Women’s Day, I wish that the youngest little woman in our family, Clara, 8 months old, will one day walk along a street named after the first female mayor of Vienna. And I hope that this will inspire her to become a mayor, a cosmonaut or take a profession we don´t even kwow today. To make this dream come true, we need feminist visions for the whole of our societies, but especially for our cities. Therefore, I consider myself an urban feminist. Why?
Well. We all know that cities are growing all over the world and that means that more and more women are living in cities and urban areas globally. But are these growing cities actually able to respond to women’s needs? I doubt it. When we look around, whether in Nairobi, Quito, Las Vegas or Vienna, we see that cities are often planned for the needs of men. Big roads for the vehicles that men drive. Imposing squares with statues of important men. Parks where boys play football. But it is the women who carry life in the city. Who juggle between jobs and children, who look after the elderly in the family and take care of the house.
So where are the women, I often ask. Where are the girls?
We need feminist urban planning that gives space to women and girls. But this has to go beyond the physical place, obviously. Urban policy has to account for the inequalities between women and men in all respects. That will make life easier and more beautiful for them. That will let them go through life self-confident and strong. And let´s remember: it is half of the sky, half of the earth and half of the power.
Let us celebrate International Woman’s Day by honouring the inspiring heroines of cities everywhere – us, the women. Our grandmothers, mothers, our aunts, sisters, our daughters, and nieces, our friends. Happy International Women´s Day!
The Urban Economy Forum asked me to convey a message for #IWD2021, so here it is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ok34sLwdVKk&t=2s