If we take care of youth and women, we take care of democracy: Mayor López

If we take care of youth and women, we take care of democracy: Mayor Photo: Bogota Mayor's Office.
The Mayor of Bogotá is participating in the First Cities Summit of the Americas which is expected to be attended by around 150 leaders.

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Mayor of Bogotá, Claudia López along with her counterpart from Curitiba (Brazil), Rafael Greca de Macedo, were key figures in the opening of the meeting of local leaders from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), which is a prelude to the First Cities Summit of the Americas, which is also expected to be attended by around 150 leaders.

Moderated by Tatiana Gallego, Chief of the Housing and Urban Development Division of the IDB's Climate Change and Sustainable Development Sector, the panel on "Strategic Planning and Financing of Cities" focused on the participant's interest in the Care Blocks strategy implemented by Claudia López's administration to support women.

"Bogotá, a city of 8 million people, 52% of whom are women, accounts for 25% of Colombia's GDP," began the Mayor in her speech, in which she also stated: "We must take care of people, particularly women and young people, to achieve a social base that takes care of democracy; and for democracies to save the planet."

When contextualizing one of the questions posed to the Mayor about the Care Blocks, the moderator expressed her interest in learning about the program's details and future sustainability. The Mayor clarified that the city council had already passed a law establishing this tool, which would require future governments to continue its implementation for the benefit of the beneficiaries.

"The Bogotá Care System is using social infrastructure, grouping it into blocks so that it is within a 15 to 20-minute distance, and integrating it into services to relieve women from the overburden of unpaid care," explained the Mayor.

"Today, Bogotá has 18 Care Blocks that are funded by taxes, and we have managed to incorporate this issue, as well as mobility and socioeconomic structure, into the Master Plan," she added.

Furthermore, when detailing her perspective on the contribution of mobility to a better quality of life in cities like Bogotá, the Mayor highlighted the progress of her administration in achieving an efficient and clean public transportation system. She emphasized that Bogotá is precisely one of the cities outside of China with the most electric buses and is recognized as the world's biking capital.

"The king of the 20th century was the car. In Bogotá, only 20% of citizens own a car, but 80% of public space is dedicated to them. The challenge for 21st-century cities is to redistribute public space for pedestrians and clean transportation systems such as bicycles," she concluded.

In another workspace during the summit, the Mayor participated in the "Inter-American Dialogue and CAF - Development Bank of Latin America" on gender and cities. She shared the platform with leaders of cities of various sizes and diverse geographies, civil society leaders, representatives from the private sector, and other key stakeholders from across the hemisphere to create consensus and collaboration in pursuit of effective promotion, policies, and programs that promote women's economic empowerment through participation in an inclusive and equitable digital economy at the subnational level.

"In Bogotá, we are going to move from the care economy to a Care System. We are going to use social infrastructure, the social services of the Mayor's Office not only to attend to children, the elderly, or young people but to directly relieve women and thereby reduce their poverty," explained the Mayor during her presentation.

Regarding the Biennial of the Americas, which held its first Leadership Luncheon highlighting the work and progress of pioneering and innovative women in the hemisphere, with more than 700 guests from civic, business, and cultural organizations, the Mayor of Bogotá highlighted the real effects of the Care System on changing the mindset of Bogotá society.

"A Care System, which first and foremost can relieve women of the unpaid care and domestic work, in order to build a more equitable Care System in the city. Of course, we need to take care of children, the elderly, and people with disabilities, but we cannot continue to do so in Latin America and the world at the expense of women's talent, time, and opportunities," said the Mayor.

As the first woman to hold the position of Mayor of Bogotá by popular election, she inspired the attendees and highlighted the programs that her administration promotes to overcome gender gaps and provide more opportunities for young people.

Tonight, at the end of the day in Denver, the Mayor is scheduled to attend an informative dinner organized by the Financial Times in collaboration with Millicom Tigo, to explore how collaboration between the public and private sectors can ensure that Latin American cities and communities benefit from digital ecosystems.

The event will feature a keynote interview with Ilan Goldfajn, President of the Inter-American Development Bank, followed by a panel discussion focused on how investments in technology and improving connectivity can reduce social gaps, generate employment, and boost productivity in the region to take advantage of global and local opportunities.