June 18, 2022
During the 2022 High Level Meeting on Acceleration of the SDGs in New York, SDG Cities held a side-event on Women-Led Businesses for Women Led Cities. The session brought together women business leaders, mayors and UN principals in a dialogue on the opportunity women leaders of businesses and cities make a difference in accelerating the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda.
Rohey Malick Lowe, Mayor of Banjul, Gambia cited the demand for more economic empowerment to support women in human settlements. This was further championed by United Nations Under Secretary General and Executive Director of UN-Habitat, Maimumah Moh’d Shariff who presented on the need for more women-led cities for their economic empowerment. She noted challenges that women and women leaders face in their role in cities, reminiscing from her time as the first woman mayor after 17 men.
“As ladies, we have to believe in ourselves. And that is what I have done from my time as a Mayor to UN-Habitat”, said Md. Maimunah.
Liane Freire, a sustainable development entrepreneur, BLENDlab founder and UN-Habitat’s City Investment Facility founding partner pointed out that the SDG-Cities project on Women-Led Businesses for Women-Led Cities has the potential to be a movement that will bring women leaders together towards accelerating and achieving the SDGs.
Women represent more than half of the world’s population, and also half of its potential. With women’s equal participation, decision making and leadership in political and public life being essential to achieving the SDGs within the decade of action. This is despite the globally disproportionate challenges they face at all levels of decision making and leadership.
SDG-Cities recognizes that women in leadership enables their perspectives and lived experiences to be better reflected in decision making and contribute to ensuring an equal, inclusive and fair society. SDG Cities aims to empower and promote women-led and women-centred cities by launching a “Women-led businesses for Women-led cities” window.
This brings women CEOs, feminist CEOs and women mayors together to support the success of women-led and women-centred cities. It will provide a platform for women in leadership positions in cities and in business to share experiences and lessons learned, identify opportunities and overcome challenges together. Most importantly, it will mobilize a catalytic fund to support local initiatives that accelerate the achievement of SDGs in Women-led cities and facilitate access to finance for women entrepreneurs.
Preeti Sinha, Executive Secretary of UNCDF also noted that the New Urban Agenda emphasizes on the role of local and regional government’s financial stability and expressed her willingness to work with cities, municipalities, local and regional governments to boost investments in sustainable services and infrastructure. However, she detailed the importance of gender-responsive planning that ensures the participation of women and girls for sustainable, safe, accessible urban mobility of all.