Efus launches the Women in Cities Initiative (WICI)

Dear Efus members and partners,

With each new crisis that arises, from the Covid-19 pandemic to the tragedies of the current war in Ukraine, women and girls bear the brunt of some of the worst consequences. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has deepened pre-existing gender inequalities, exposing vulnerabilities in social, political and economic systems, both in Europe and beyond. Recent analyses of global gender equality and women’s empowerment reaffirm that women and girls are disproportionately affected by the socioeconomic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, with isolation and difficulties accessing resources bringing about a significant increase in gender-based violence. Today, more than 4 million refugees from Ukraine have crossed borders in search of safety. Most of these are women, many with children; all are made more vulnerable as a result of their displacement.

Responsive as ever to the needs of our network, the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus) is pleased to announce the incorporation of WICI, the Women in Cities Initiative.

As the closest level of governance to citizens, local and regional authorities are better placed to assess and identify situations where fundamental rights are threatened. The inclusion of WICI reflects our commitment to adopting a feminist, gender-based perspective in our work responding, as ever, to the needs of cities in our network. This creates opportunities for new partnerships and specialist interventions, in line with WICI’s twenty years of work in the sphere. WICI brings a repository of knowledge and experience of working with and for women and girls in promoting and enabling the cross-section of gender and urban security.

We look forward to working with existing and new partners, as we better understand and respond to the needs of women both in our municipalities and in the communities that they serve.

We are confident that the integration of WICI into Efus is a unique opportunity to strengthen Efus’ long standing work on gender inequality issues from a strong and well-recognised base. 

Never before has such an initiative been more opportune.