•    Gender & Cities 

    What do regional and frontline feminists have in common with digital visionaries who are also focused on democracy, inclusion, and transformation?


    Women at the Table convenes experts, and expert feminists each separately focused on

    technology, gender, democracy, urban planning, climate change and community activism

    for discussions on shared visions, collaborations and concrete action.


    Gender & Cities 

    We gathered in person from

    Mumbai, New Dehli, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Kibera, Kuala Lumpur, London, Toronto, New York

    in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss The Smart Feminist City 3.0.    

  • Smart Feminist City

    World Urban Forum

     Abu Dhabi

    Women at the Table was honored to be part of the Gender Expert Group for wuf10

     & to be able to moderate the epic wuf10 Women's Roundtable w Activists, Mayors and Ministers from

    Kibera to Accra, Kuala Lumpur to Mexico City, Berlin to Vancouver, Delhi to Boston, with special guest UN Habitat Head Maimunah Mohd Sharif.  

    Ashkara Centre


    Led by colleague Nandita Shah, the Ashkara Centre has created new resources to

      Stand Up Against Violence, including their


    LockdownOnDomesticViolence video inspired by the COVID-19 lockdown in India to increase awareness and end social stigma and silence about 'domestic' violence.

    Gender Planning to Gender Transformation


    The one and only Caroline Moser's new article on gender transformation and positionality

    to be published in the International Development Planning Review,

    based on her extraordinary urban feminist scholar experiences in the South.

  • What is a Smart Feminist City?

    Jane Anyango Odongo

    Executive Director,

    Polycom Development,


    Nandita Shah


    Akshara Centre,


    Suneeta Dhar

    Advisor, JAGORI,

    New Delhi

  • How will the “inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable cities and settlements” expressed in Sustainable Development Goal 11, be fully integrated with the vision of gender equality articulated in Sustainable Development Goal 5 ?

    Gender & Cities delves into the gap between visions of equality for women and the cities we live in now, exploring what is meant by a gender transformative city, analyzing the frameworks that enable women to have agency and influence as decision-makers from the kitchen table to the municipality, to the regional, the national and the international level.

  • Gender & Cities

    coalition building.

    Lightening talks and

    landscaping sessions to address:


    Which inclusive democracy movements are effectively bringing women into decision-making fora?

    Where can the smart city agenda enable a deeper more connective human experience?

    Who are the agents of change on the frontline of this work?


    How can climate justice movements catalyze approaches and integrate a holistic gender as well as technology lens? 

    Do human settlements have gender transformative potential and how do settlements fit into the humanist smart city?

    Which new alliances are needed to move us towards democracies with genuine gender participation at their core?


  • “In 1950 there were 86 cities in the world with a population of more than one million; today there are 400, and by 2015 there will be at least 550. Cities, indeed, have absorbed nearly two-thirds of the global population explosion since 1950, and are currently growing by a million babies and migrants each week. The world’s urban labor force has more than doubled since 1980, and the present urban population -3.2 billion- is larger than the total population of the world when John F. Kennedy was inaugurated. … Cities will account for virtually all future world population growth.... Ninety-five percent of this final buildout of humanity will occur in the urban areas of developing countries, whose populations will double to nearly 4 billion over the next generation.”1 And Half of the world’s cities will be built between 2018 and 2060, with half the cities that already exist exploding in population. (1 Thanks to Mike Davis + 'Planet of the Slums')


    Where do gender, women, and women’s rights factor into this complex equation?

    There are extraordinary challenges here, but also great opportunities for transformation, inclusion and change.

  • Gender & Cities Public Event

    4 December

    Ivan Pictet Auditorium

    Graduate Institute, Geneva

    Panel: 18:30 - 20:00

    Reception: 20:00-21:00

    Gender & Cities Kick Off

    Panel I: The Frontline

    Panel II: The Transformative City


      Panel I: The Frontline


      Safe Cities Covening

      Suneeta Dhar, Director, JAGORI,

      & Safe Delhi Campaign, New Delhi, India




      Talking Boxes

      Jane Anyango Odongo, Executive Director + Founder, Polycom Development Project, Kibera




      Huairou Commission

      Sri Husnaini Sofjan, Senior Consultant, Huairou Commission, Kuala Lumpur




      Bancada Atvista, the Elected Collective

      Chirley Pankará, Legislative Assembly, São Paulo

      Panel II: The Transformative City


      What is a Gender Transformative City?

      Caroline Moser, Professor Emeritus, University of Manchester



      Kaka Verdade, Executive Director,
      ELAS Fundo de Investimento Social, Rio de Janeiro



      New Ideas for a New Paradigm

      Renata Avila, ciudadano inteligente, Santiago



      Three Dimensional Transformation

      Nandita Shah, Akshara, Mumbai



      Civic Imaginary: Designing the Smart Cities

      Beth Coleman, Director, The City As Platform Lab; Associate Professor of Digital Media, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

    • Some of the extraordinary women who led the Gender & Cities discussions

      Suneeta Dhar

      Director, JAGORI, New Delhi

      JAGORI works with a diverse group of women living on the margins of society, in both the urban and rural areas of the country. Focusing on women’s safety and their inclusion in governance, leadership development and strengthening their collectives and institutions, JAGORI uses creative communications and educational strategies. Suneeta has over three decades of experience on women’s rights, combining action research and gender mainstreaming processes with community-led initiatives and policy advocacy efforts. Programmatic areas of work include gender and urbanization, education and ending violence against women.

      Active in the women’s movement, she is one of the Founding Directors of the South Asia Women’s Fund, a core group member of the South Asian Network of Gender Activists and Trainers (SANGAT), a member of the Institutional Ethics Review Board (IERB) at JNU

      Beth Coleman

      Director, City as Platform Lab, Ontario

      Associate Professor of Experimental Digital Media at the University of Waterloo she directs the City as Platform Lab. Coleman's work focuses on smart technology, big data, and civic engagement. Her practice engages research methods and artistic inquiry towards the creation of public, civic, and poetic works. Her research affiliations include executive committee member of the Waterloo Games Institute, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard University, and expert consultant for the European Commission Digital Futures. She is a founding member of the Microsoft Research Fellow Social Media Collective.

      Renata Avila

      Executive Director, Fundación Ciudadania Inteligente, Santiago

      Fundación Ciudadano Inteligente (Smart Citizen Foundation) creates web technologies as a key tool for gathering, organizing, illustrating and sharing information through the web, working to promote informed citizen actions and government accountability. Avila is a Guatemalan human rights lawyer and digital rights advocate specializing in Intellectual Property and Technology, her work addresses the crucial intersection between human rights, information, technological change and the power disparities between the Global North and South. As a lawyer in Guatemala, Avila has represented indigenous victims of genocide and other human rights abuses, including the prominent indigenous leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Rigoberta Menchu Tum. As part of her longstanding advocacy work in the field of Internet and Human Rights, she led with World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners – Lee a global campaign to uphold human rights in the digital age in more than seventy five countries. Avila sits on the Board of Creative Commons, is a trustee of the Courage Foundation, - an organisation set up to assist whistleblowers at risk - and is an advisory board member of Diem25, exploring the potential of decentralised technologies in Europe. She is currently writing a book about Digital Colonialism and advises the Web Foundation on their new Digital Equality strategies.

      Nandita Shah

      Co-Director, Akshara, Mumbai

      Feminist activist and researcher, Nandita has over 30 years of experience in strengthening the women’s movements locally, nationally and internationally both through her activism and writing. Her expertise in building different public private partnerships have led to institutionalized initiatives with the police and local municipalities, Transport authorities for creating safer cities for women. She has been able to mobilize sustained support from corporate, media and celebrities on a pro bono basis to enhance the reach of the feminist agendas. Her co-authored book on women’s movement- Issues at Stake published by Kali for women is an important contribution to the Women’s movement and Women’s studies.

      Over the past ten years, she has been an active member in the International council of the World Social Forum (WSF), an important platform for alternative voices globally and has been part of organising the transnational feminist dialogues along with WSFs.

      She has been on the Civil Society Advisory Group of UNWomen since 2013 and is an active organizer for One Billion Rising campaign in Mumbai.

      In November 2015, she was invited by UNWomen to present a paper on “Making CSW60 work for women’s rights” in a global civil society dialogue consultation with the head of UNWomen, chair of the Bureau of CSW, and the official organising government team and US Ambassador.

      Jane Anyango Odongo

      Executive Director + Founder, Polycom Development Project, Kibera

      A community mobilizer working to organize women living in the informal settlements of Nairobi, Jane has been widely recognized for her efforts, winning a Community Peace builder Award, Outstanding

      Leadership Award, and nomination for the International Women of Courage Award in 2011. She has participated and spoken in local and international conferences focusing on development policies on women’s and girls’ rights and safety in relation to reproductive rights and housing, and those that matters to the lives of grassroots women.

      She sits on the UN Women National Civil Society Advisory Group, has been a member of the National Peace Steering Committee and been part of the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women as a powerful voice pushing for unity leading to quality engagement with grassroots women. Jane has successfully mobilized women living in 8 informal settlements under the title Wamama TunaUwezo. She is a powerful facilitator and currently a consultant of the African Youth Trust under Action Aid Program – Safe City aimed to create violence-free societies for women and girls.

      In the Habitat III process, she led a widely-acclaimed Urban Thinkers Campus on women and safety, and served as an expert in Policy Unit 5: Municipal Finance and Local Fiscal Systems. In September2018, Jane together with Huairou grassroots women leaders, successfully organized an Urban Lab in conjunction with the Urban Thinkers Campus that focus on the principle of The City We Need is Safe.

      KaKa Verdade

      Executive Director,
      ELAS Fundo de Investimento Social, Rio de Janeiro

      A political scientist by training, since 2000 Kaka has run ELAS Social Investment Fund investing exclusively in women’s leadership and rights of women throughout Brasil, creating social impact and change.

      ELAS transforms innovative ideas of thousands of women from different ethnicities, races and sexual orientation into reality launching “call of proposals” to select and support innovative projects of women’s groups working for women’s empowerment and rights.

      ELAS has built a pioneering methodology based on meritocracy where women’s groups and organizations use pseudonyms when submitting their proposals aiming to break a culture of favoritism and to ensure transparency.

      Chirley Pankará

      Bancada Ativista, Legislative Assembly,

      São Paulo


      Chirley Pankará is the first-ever indigenous representative elected for the São Paulo Legislative Assembly, the legislative body of Brazil's largest state. She is one of the nine activists who were elected together through the innovative collective candidacy for State Deputy launched in 2018 by Bancada Ativista (Activist Caucus), an independent movement focused on electing activists for office. Representative of the Pankará ethnic group, she is a pedagogue with a Master in Education, and an expert in indigenous school education. She leads the Center for Indigenous Education and Culture - Ceci Jaraguá, and deeply committed to the defense of causes of indigenous peoples.

      Sri Husnaini Sofjan 

      Senior Consultant, Huairou Commission, Kuala Lumpur

      Trained in political science, development economics and public administration, Sri’s experience covers a wide spectrum of fields, ranging from good governance, regional-global coordination of women’s networks and cities, and to managing and programming human settlements and gender equality projects funded by the United Nations agencies, as well as with the government. She was the first Chief Executive Officer of a state-funded women machinery, Penang Women’s Development Corporation (PWDC), from 2012-13. At PWDC she directed the first state level gender responsive budgeting initiative with the two local governments, as well as led the development of a Childcare Policy. After the post conflict and tsunami in Acheh, Indonesia, Sri did not hesitate to commit to 3 years to live in Aceh, as Programme Manager of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM, now known as UN Women), where she successfully implemented and managed a project “Strengthening Women’s Legal Rights.“ She gained regional coordination exposure and expertise working with the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) regional project on urban management and urban governance from 1993 and was the Regional Programme Manager of UNDP’s popular The Urban Governance Initiative (TUGI), when she left in 2004. At UNDP-TUGI, she led the design and facilitation of key programmes and tools with several cities leading to creation of space for inclusion and participation of urban poor women and their communities in local governance such as the Local to Local Dialogues & Platforms, and Governance Report Cards. Sri was appointed as one of the 15-member UN-Habitat Advisory Group on Gender Issues (AGGI) in Aug 2012.

      Caroline Moser 

      Professor Emeritus, University of Manchester

      Gender transformation, asset accumulation & just cities. Caroline’s current research focuses on urban gender transformation, a radical paradigm shift from gender mainstreaming.

      This conceptual and operational framework identifies urban pathways not only to empower individual women but also to collectively transform gender power relations. The evidence base on transformative interventions includes land tenure and housing, safety in public spaces and informal economic activities.

      Moser (2017) ‘Gender transformation in a new global urban agenda: challenges for Habitat III and beyond’, Environment and Urbanization, Vol. 28, No 1, April

    • Gender & Cities

      invitation only conversation on

      SMART feminist cities

      0830 - 0900 Breakfast & Welcome

      0900-0930 Tour de Table

      0930 – 1115

      the front line: agents of change


      What is the gender transformative potential of human settlements?


      Landscape Leader:

      • Suneeta Dhar, JAGORI, New Delhi


      Curated Discussion:

      • Jane Odongo, Executive Director + Founder, Polycom Development Project, Kibera
      • Sri Husnaini Sofjan, Senior Consultant, Hairou Commission, Kuala Lumpur


      1130- 1245

      climate justice: feminist catalytics


      How do we incorporate a gender lens in the climate justice and climate change movements?


      Landscape Leader:

      •  KaKa Verdade, Executive Director, ELAS Fundo de Investimento Social, Rio de Janeiro
      Curated Discussion:
      • Katharina Samara Wickrama, Oak Foundation




      Networking Lunch upstairs on the roof at Restaurant Maison de la Paix


      technology: with gender at its core


      Can a SMART city enable a more connective human experience?


      Landscape Leader:

      • Beth Coleman, Director, Sidewalk as Platform Lab, Toronto
      Curated Discussion:
      • Renata Avila, ciudadano inteligente, Santiago 

      1600- 1730

      democracy: bringing women into decision-making fora

      What does a SMART feminist city look like?



      Landscape Leader:

      • Caroline Moser, Emeritus Professor, University of Manchester

      Curated Discussion:

      • Nandita Shah, Co-Director, Akshara, Mumbai
      • Chirley Pankara, Bancada Atavista, Sao Paolo


      1730 -1830


      plenary wrap up:

      new alliances

      1830-1930 Reception

      Conference Center, Graduate Institute, Maison de la Paix

      2000-2200 Dinner    

      Les Cinq Portes, Geneva

    • Tell us about a lost, or a future, opportunity 

      Or the questions you'd like to see asked and answered. The problem to solve.

      And watch this space for Gender & Cities 2020.

    • Where you'll find us

      connect and continue the conversation on social media