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Local Governance

Gender parity here refers to equal participation and representation in positions of power that impact all aspects of life, and is a way to measure women’s political power. Measurable outcomes across CHANGE’s indicators can all be influenced by the increased political participation of women, and the inclusion of women in decision-making roles in local governance. 

What We Measure:

Local Governance

The five indicators within the Local Governance category help determine whether women are represented equally in citywide decision-making:

  1. Proportion of female deputy mayors and heads of departments
  2. Number of seats in local government elected office held by women
  3. Participation in local elections disaggregated by sex

Women in Municipal Leadership Positions

This indicator measures the percentage of women in non-elected municipal leadership positions (e.g. Deputy Mayors, heads of bureaus and agencies, and other decision-making positions). Women’s prevalence in higher-level positions is an indication of their access to political power. Change in this indicator relies on political will and intentional internal policies of the municipal government.

Case Studies from mexico city and london

From the beginning of former Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum Pardo’s term in 2018, she has had gender parity in her cabinet. Today, 47% of the leadership positions in Mexico City are held by women. 

In the Greater London Authority, there has been an increase in representation of female senior staff between 2016, when 39% declared as female, and 2022, when 55% declared as female.

  • 47%

    of the leadership positions in Mexico City are held by women.

  • 39% of senior staff positions in London were held by women in 2016, compared to 55% in 2022.


Women in Municipal Elected Seats

Women’s equal participation and leadership in political and public life are essential to achieving gender equity. However, data show that women are underrepresented at all levels of decision-making worldwide and that achieving gender parity in political life is far off.

Case Study from Mexico City

While gender parity was achieved in the cabinet through political leadership, gender parity in the legislative body is a product of national level election reforms. In 2014, the national government mandated that national and local election lists should be composed of an equal number of male and female candidates. Mexico City has had gender parity in its elected congress since 2018.

  • Political Parity in Mexico City

  • In 2014, the national government mandated that national and local election lists should be composed of an equal number of male and female candidates.


Election Participation Rate

Specific measures may be required to overcome barriers of gender discrimination in elections. For example, if polling stations are located in remote or unsafe areas, voters who identify as women may be reluctant to use them. Data can help inform electoral management bodies of hindrances to women’s participation.

Case Study from Stockholm

Today, women’s participation in both national and communal elections in Sweden is higher than men´s – but this has been in the making for over 100 years.

Female activists won the right to vote in Sweden in 1921, and that year the gender gap in participation was 15%. That fell to 5% in 1940, then to 2% in 1960.

  • Today, more women than men participate in both national Swedish elections, and communal elections.


Qualitative indicators

CHANGE also works with cities to understand what policies, programs, and initiatives improve gender equity within local governance. If you look through our policy library, you will see how CHANGE cities contribute to the following:

  • What We Measure:

    Local Governance

    1. Does the city have processes to track public allocations for gender equality and women’s empowerment?

    2. Do trained specialists respond to domestic and sexual violence emergency calls (in addition to or in place of general emergency response authorities)?

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