Prof. Analia Pastran, Founder & CEO of Smartly, Social Entrepreneurship on the SDGs, Co-Chair of the Professionals Group and Member of the Steering Committee of the UN Habitat’ World Urban Campaign.
The world would be a different place if its nations (cities) believed and practiced what’s been called “womenomics”, a theory linking the advancement of women to increased development rates (UN News).
When you are a woman it becomes complex to define the professional development you would like to achieve, since in some way the family, the traditions, and customs were preparing us mainly for family assistance tasks. In these times, we are experiencing a global paradigm shift in which the proposal that is promoted is to abandon that role for another that puts the core of beliefs in tension.
Globalization allows people, organizations, and enterprises, among others, to act Global-Locally: GloCaL. Thinking globally but acting locally. This phenomenon is understood as an accelerated intensification of interactions between countries, but not only or primarily through the governments. It involves a process of transnationalization of politics, where the actions are carried out by a transnational actor (states, companies, unions, NGOs, etc.). In this scenario, we have the best opportunity to magnify our impact; by working within a network of like-minded visionaries and troubleshooters (Pastran, 2019).
In this context, being able to see yourself as an economically independent professional woman who can express her own thoughts but at the same time strengthen the foundations of society by thinking in community, requires an effort that you must be willing to make, but also of a boldness that is achieved through alliances.
One thing that I observe recurrently in cities is that gender is not completely considered in the decision-making and budgeting of urban life. The focus on empowering women is on care tasks that impact the women's development of a professional career, but we missed the opportunity to accelerate access to finance or fundings for women’s development and/or economic independence. It is something that leaders mention but it is not connected to concrete actions. We need to think of women's inclusion as a cross-cutting principle.
From Smartly we had the opportunity to organize the Urban Thinkers Campus (UTCs): Vibrant and Inclusive Urban Life (in Mexico and Ecuador), co-organize three Special UTCs Covid-19 edition, and also relaunch the Urban Journalist Academy (Buenos Aires and Mexico - in person, 2019-), among other activities and I can point out that when women have a leadership position most of the time we feel alone. It took us so much effort to get “there” that we forgot how to build partner-allies-fellow-comrades relationships. We are missing the opportunity of sharing women peer to peer advice in the high-level decision-making process and this is impacting as well on the access to finance and to political power.
Women face challenges that are replicated regardless of the region, country, city, culture, or belief, and whose solutions are global given that local problems are global.
Women 2030, a Smartly initiative, proposes a scheme of alliances between women to achieve sustainable career development. During the campuses, we emphasize the importance of Women Promoting Women, aware that the model of women that we propose is resisted by society and by the women themselves who are already in decision-making positions. For instance, the generation and escalation of alliances represent a great challenge to be addressed, since there is an intention to carry them out but the routines of the organizations and personal objectives make them a difficult matter to hold.
With our allies, we could observe and analyze the real and effective possibilities that women have to access knowledge and power, to apply technology for personal and community development, and to generate alliances during and after these urban thinkers campuses. The analysis postulated so far will be under the scrutiny of the social, economic, and environmental model that the political systems of the region propose for our democracies.
In the context of three global crisis like Climate Change, COVID-19 pandemic and the global security crisis that affects human life and impacts all communities, we need to look deeply on the preponderant role of the cities and especially partnerships (SDG17) as a key bridge to connect agendas to accelerate inclusion and gender equality for the cities we need, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda for the good living.
UN News, (2015)“Womenomics” linking gender equality and economic growth. Retrieved from: https://news.un.org/en/audio/2015/01/595792
Pastran A, (2019) Social Entrepreneurship on SDGs. ICSB Annual Global Micro-, Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Report, 76-79p. USA
 Word included by the author.