Policing, COVID & Sexism: How women mayors tackled 2020

In January, we celebrated one year since the launch of the Women Mayors Network. In close partnership with Equity Agenda, this project advances our work to build and sustain peer networks and to provide new tools for mayors to enact their agendas. 

Women mayors have consistently expressed the need to us for a space where they can speak candidly, learn and collaborate with peers, and explore the challenges that institutionalized sexism creates for women in leadership roles. 

At the kickoff of this project in January 2020, 24 women mayors participated, and from there, the energy and interest has grown. This strong network of peers includes participation from 60 women mayors.

At the request of mayors in the network, we hosted virtual convenings throughout 2020, sustaining a high level of engagement. In the early weeks of the pandemic, mayors shared their experiences addressing COVID-19. Following sessions then focused on communication strategies; the history of policing in the US and its impact on communities; and confronting sexism in leadership during crisis.

We are currently mid-way through a Women Mayors Network cohort focused on policing reform. This originated when our Steering Committee member, Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong of Kankakee, IL, asked us to support mayors in addressing the systemic injustice of policing systems. Through six monthly sessions, cohort members will identify where and how systemic change around policing is possible, explore options for reform, and begin to share this learning with peer mayors and cities.

As we look to the future, the Women Mayors Network stands ready to grow and provide support and resources to strong, diverse women-identified mayors around the country. 

This network provides women mayors with the opportunity to:

  • Explore the context and issues that affect the success of women mayors in their executive leadership roles.
  • Prioritize equity, representation, and intersectionality and understand how gender, race, and other marginalized identities can be explored together.
  • Provide vetted high-road policy options around intersectional/gender equity.
  • Provide resources to allies to help them interrupt sexism and racism, address equity concerns, and support their colleagues’ leadership.

Are you a woman-identified mayor interesting in joining the network? Learn more & sign up here.