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On the occasion of International Women’s Day,, and together with its platform Women in Urbanism, have prepared a common statement to highlight how women shape, use, flourish or face hardship in the Brussels urban environment. 

This year, the campaign theme #ChooseToChallenge calls on every one of us to speak up and challenge practices hurting women, as well as the systems that allow this to continue. For women in the city, this means the urban environment with all its opportunities but where women are still underserved or harmed by a lack of attention to their needs and the limited influence of women and especially women of color or those in a precarious situation, on that urban environment. 

It is important to celebrate the importance of women leading the way, and that the region of Brussels embraces wholeheartedly their ambitions for a truly equal urban environment. At the same time, we also need to continue to be mindful of the women who have not been fortunate enough to be acknowledged for their qualities, had the privilege of higher education, who live in fear or violence or who are struggling to support themselves and their families. 

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This is especially important during the current crisis we are in. Research clearly shows that women, and especially women of colour, or those in already precarious circumstances, are hit especially hard by the effects of the pandemic as well as the virus itself. This is why we would like to highlight organisations that work to improve the lives of women in Brussels during the current pandemic. Organisations involved in tackling issues in health, employment, education, housing, violence & safety such as Chez Nous Bij Ons, BX-Jeunes, Netwerk Tegen Armoede, ZUUR! Le Forum, Femmes & Santé, Brussels Platform Armoede, Womenpreneur, Chayn Belgium, and Bruzelle.

Women in Urbanism puts gender and intersectional perspectives at the core of urban planning and is designed to source good practices, as well as the real challenges facing Brussels vis-a-vis other urban regions. From the people actually living there as well as those influencing its shape and functioning. By weaving these networks together, we aim to start a practice in Brussels of participation of women in shaping the urban environment and of policy makers being representative and knowledgeable, which eventually should lead to an urban region that serves all its citizens.

We choose to challenge. Join us!

#WomenInUrbanism        #InternationalWomensDay

Pascal Smet                        
State Secretary of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Urbanism and Heritage, European and International Relations, Foreign Trade and Firefighting and Emergency medical Assistance.

Rudi Vervoort
Minister President of the Brussels-Capital Region

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