Economic Development in Our Nation’s Cities: A Conversation on Growing Jobs through Investment, Education, and International Trade | Wilson Center
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Economic Development in Our Nation’s Cities: A Conversation on Growing Jobs through Investment, Education, and International Trade

Webcast available

Webcast Recap

On October 18th, The Wilson Center’s Women in Public Service Project and Urban Sustainability Laboratory along with the Association of Women in International Trade (WIIT) held a conversation with two of our nation’s leading mayors to discuss their role fostering urban growth with equity. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Blair Ruble, Vice President for Programs and Director of the Urban Sustainability Laboratory at the Wilson Center. Mayors play a critical role in ensuring their city continues improving while retaining its distinctiveness uniqueness.

The Honorable Megan Barry of Nashville, Tennessee and the Honorable Libby Schaaf of Oakland, California talked at length about economic development in America’s cities and the importance of inclusion, diversity, and strategies that create jobs while enhancing the quality of life for their citizens. Each panelist tackled tough questions concerning the importance of globalization in our current political climate, how women in leadership is different and necessary, and what they’re doing to combat institutional inequalities.

Key Quotes

The Honorable Megan Barry

"I don't think that [the men before me] didn't care about families - I just think they didn't think about it. I don't think they thought having paid family leave was something that we needed."

"We try to get our workforce to look like Nashville ... all of the people who sit [in my office] were the most qualified candidates, they also just happen to reflect what our community looks like. This idea of how women lead differently - I think it's that we're deliberate."

"If we're going to [reach 50% representation by 2050] we've got to get a whole lot more familiar with women sitting in seats of power. I think that when women sit in seats of power there is so much more women move on, and it impacts people who are underserved."

The Honorable Libby Schaaf

"It is ridiculous what women have to go through to be in the workforce and have babies at the same time ... unless your life experience has allowed you to see these things, you're not going to be able to know where to have to go to get rid of them."

"If we want to be inclusive and diversify the success within our economy, we've got to think about what some of these old institutions are that have been preserving the barriers and preserving the kind of oppressive policies and practices that have excluded groups from the economy."

Photo: Baltimore City via Flickr(CC BY-NC 2.0)


10-18-2017 Economic Development in Our Nation’s Cities




  • Blair A. Ruble

    Distinguished Fellow
    Former Wilson Center Vice President for Programs (2014-2017); Director of the Comparative Urban Studies Program/Urban Sustainability Laboratory (1992-2017); Director of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies (1989-2012) and Director of the Program on Global Sustainability and Resilience (2012-2014)