OECD Observer
Engender equality

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We clearly have a long way to go where equal representation is concerned in political spheres! Positive discrimination can be one short term measure albeit a contentious one. I would argue that an available route towards greater representation is to advocate and lobby that our elected leaders be feminists, if not representatives. When leadership positions arise and the pool of contenders are men, let us hold them fairly to account on their past records and future agendas to improve gender equality. The means to achieving equal representation may lie fundamentally on equal access to opportunity, but also relies on an appetite and understanding within political agendas for the social, cultural, economic and political equality of the sexes. Challenging political rhetoric on the ideals of feminism, could be one way to create the space for such an appetite to grow.


To ensure gender friendly urban policy it is crucial to involve women at every level. Women’s voices often remain unheard or lost while transforming policies into action. Just by mere presence of women at top leadership level doesn’t guarantee that crucial issues related to women will be included as part of policy framework and will be translated it in the desired way. In many countries there is a quota system that ensures women’s participation in various levels of governance. Though rather than quota, the focus should be on empowerment; so that women can take up a leadership role and able to deliver as per need. […] 

Hilary Murphy and Usri, commenting on the online discussion “Engendering the city: Women and urban governance”, www.wikigender.org, October 2016

©OECD Observer No 307 Q3 2016