When I started fieldwork in Medellin this year, I went to the Secretary for Women (Secretaría de las Mujeres) to ask about information about state programs aimed at protecting and improving the situation for women in Medellin.
The Secretary for Women in Medellín has a interesting history. It was created in 2002 during Sergio Fajardo’s administration (the mayor who introduced Social Urbanism) as a response to the women’s and grassroots movements’s demands of an institution within the local state that addressed women in Medellin. As various civil servants working at the Secretary for Women told me during the interviews, “The Secretary for Women in Medellin is the only institution with the local state created bottom-up…It is a result of women’s organizations and grassroots movements”. I thought this was incredible and understood the proximity of the Secretary for Women with the cities’ women’s organizations and grassroots movements, in particular the MESA DE MUJER DE MEDELLIN. Some members of the MESADE MUJER DE MEDELLIN had either worked at the Secretary for Women or had been appointed head of the Secretary.
Since its inception in 2002 and with ups and downs with each administration, the Secretary for Women has worked closely with the MESA DE MUJER DE MEDELLIN on various programs aimed at improving women’s lives in Medellin. I had the opportunity of speaking to the head of the following programs: Gender Mainstreaming, Gender Equality, and Medellín: A Safe City for Women and Girls. But these projects will be the subject of another post….