A Message from the Huairou Commission on World Habitat Day
Within the past several years, thanks to the efforts of committed citizens, active women’s groups, Cities and UN agencies, the issue of women’s safety has been placed on the international urban agenda.
This is a major step forward.
For women, safe homes and access to safe public spaces determine what resources, services, markets and networks they can access For many years, increasing safety in cities meant increasing police presence and arrests. Excluded from planning processes, women formed independent organizations and boards to find solutions to the many barriers they were facing to living and raising their children in secure environments.
Today, October 1st, on World Habitat Day, we would like to commend UN Habitat for promoting safer cities for women, by linking civil society and cities, and facilitating processes to build stronger communities as the primary solution to the creation of safe cities. In this way, UN Habitat is helping to build a new paradigm of safety. We celebrate the international events being held in Monterrey, Mexico, the Hague, the Netherlands and in cities all around the world.
Cities are becoming safer as women are more involved in planning at the local level. Issues that matter to women are more frequently on cities’ agenda, including ample lighting, convenient and accessible transportation, and safe public spaces.
At the same time, we recognize the barriers to safety that still exist, including the fact that women are not a homogenous group and many – particularly the poor and marginalized ethnic and religious groups – continue to live in insecurity.
Yet many poor and marginalized women within our coalition are leading successful community strategies that are radically improving the safety of women in their communities.