México City has become one of six metropolises worldwide now sharing solutions to crises that disproportionately impact women. Their cooperative vehicle, the City Hub and Network for Gender Equity or CHANGE for short, is working to keep each city energized about helping women and their children become physically and financially secure.
Christiane Amanpour recently interviewed two of the six mayors, México City’s Sheinbaum and London’s Sadiq Khan, for CNN. We’ve edited here their full exchange.
Christiane Amanpour: How has COVID affected the women of your city?
Cluadia Scheinbaum: They have suffered the most. A major issue is that since they must stay at home, especially if they have children, the violence that takes place inside their own houses — abuse and even murder — has grown.
Sadiq Khan: COVID has not been the great equalizer. In fact, it has amplified existing inequalities, including between men and women.
What steps have you taken to protect women in this time?
CS: We created an agenda to reduce violence against women. We now have a rule that the aggressor must leave the house, even if he owns it. There is a registry for sexual offenders [editor's note: and also a new group of 100 women lawyers giving women free legal advice and helping them file reports]. Since the well-being of women is tied to that of their children, México City is providing food support for all children between the ages of 3 and 15, 1.2 million children!
SK: We’ve increased women’s shelters and have targeted 3 million pounds to re-skill and up-skill women, since we found that women were 50 percent more likely to have lost their jobs due to COVID, and 8 out of 10 work in lower paid jobs in any case.
CA: Yes, what about jobs and pay? How are you addressing the gender pay gap?
SK: Without transparency, the facts are hidden. I published the salaries of public officials, and we found that men dominated higher paid positions. We appointed more women to top jobs, including the police chief. These women will set an example for others, because “you can’t be it if you can’t see it.”
CS: Setting examples is very important. It’s not just making new laws and regulations. In México under AMLO, half of the Cabinet members are women.
CA: Do you think a Biden Presidency will make a difference to your agendas?
SK: In Europe we are excited that the US will become allies once more on critical matters like the Paris Climate Accords.
CS: We remain concerned about the millions of Méxicanos living in uncertainly in the US. México must defend our people no matter where they live.