Role of women in city government highlighted at mayors' conference in Thailand
"Nowhere in the region are women equally represented in local government," said Kim Hak-Su, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), at the opening of the first-ever regional Summit of Women Mayors and Councillors, being held from 19 to 22 June in Phitsanulok, Thailand.
Calling the conference "the beginning of vital initiatives to significantly increase the number of women in local government," Mr. Hak-Su pledged that ESCAP would take the lead in ensuring concrete follow-up to the forum's decisions.
Women in decision-making government positions provide "transformative leadership" by redefining political priorities, placing new items on the agenda and providing new perspectives on mainstream issues, according to ESCAP.
In recognition of their community service and their role in breaking barriers against the participation and representation of women in local government, Mr. Kim presented awards to seven female mayors and councillors from China, India, Indonesia, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines and Thailand.
More than 250 participants from 24 countries and territories are attending the conference, which is being organized by ESCAP, other UN bodies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and research and training institutions.