Study: Women and the City II


It is now well
recognized that women and girls around the world face violence, sexual
harassment and abuse in many of the spaces that they inhabit – their homes,
workplaces, educational institutes, on streets and on public transport.

Women’s fear of
violence restricts their movement, limiting their use of public spaces, their
movement from their homes and as a result, their full enjoyment of a range of human rights.

ActionAid is working
in different countries to make cities safe for women and girls through its
SafeCities Initiative. This initiative is founded on the concept of right to
the city.

The right to the city
is the right of all city inhabitants, especially poor people, to have equitable
access to all that a city has to offer and also to have the right to change their
city in ways that they see fit. It entails:

• Freedom from
violence and harassment, including the fear of violence on the streets;

• Safe public spaces
where women and girls can move freely, without fear of assault;

• Access to water and
sanitation, electricity, transportation and other public amenities at residences
and in public locations to reduce the risks of violence;

• Freedom from sexual
harassment and abuse in the workplace;

• Gender sensitive
policing mechanisms for reporting violence and obtaining redress, such as
anti-violence centres/shelters; and

• Systems and
structures for women and girls to enjoy social, economic, cultural and
political participation.

This study, entitled
Women and the city II: combating violence against women and girls in urban
public spaces- the role of public services, was initiated to deepen our
understanding about the links between violence against women and urban public
services, to build evidence, to get communities as well as duty bearers to
engage in the process and to
strengthen our ability to work with women in these communities to seek change.

Conducted in Brazil,
Cambodia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia and Nepal, this study comes at a time of
significant global change. In 2008, the world reached a momentous milestone:
for the first time in history, more than half of its human population – 3.3
billion people – lived in urban areas. By 2010, the global urban population
outnumbered the rural population with 3.56 billion (51.5% of the global population) living in
urban areas.

This report is
envisaged as a knowledge building and advocacy tool. Our expected audience includes
local municipalities and community leaders, law enforcement, urban planners,
non-governmental organisations, feminist movements, the safe cities movement in
particular, policymakers and donors at the national and international levels.

The report is divided
into five sections, namely, an introduction that provides an overview of the right
to the city and the global history of safe cities work; an outline of the
methodology adopted for this study; country contexts for each of the six countries; key findings;
and finally, recommendations.

* To download the study, click here.