5 cities working to be safer for women and girls

5 cities working to be safer for women and girls

5 cities working to be safer for women and girls

Updated 18 April 2014, 14:44 AEST

Creating environments where women can be safe is a universal issue faced by cities and countries around the world.

In 2010 UN Women launched the "Safe Cities Free of Violence against Women and Girls" program in five cities, including Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea where studies were undertaken in six of the city's markets.
 
The aim of the program is to provide safer environments for women and girls, where they are able to move about freely without fear of violence or harassment.
 
Here are the five cities involved in the pilot program and what they have achieved so far.
 
1. Quito, Ecuador
Quito, Ecuador
Quito, Ecuador
Photo: Mauge, Flickr
Data provided by the Quito municipal government indicates that 68.4% of women have experienced sexual abuse or harassment in a public place. This number increases to 75% for the 18 to 32 year old bracket.

Amendments are being made to local bylaws in Quito which aim to eliminate violence against women, including a zero-tolerance policy towards sexual violence. The areas focused on include public transport, streets and public spaces. Initiatives to end domestic violence are also in place. 
2. New Delhi, India
New Delhi, India
New Delhi, India
Photo: New Delhices, Flickr
A study from 2010 found that 66% of women in New Delhi reported experiencing sexual harassment between two and five times in the previous year.

A government social protection scheme called Awaaj Uthao or "Speak Up" is implementing safe city concepts to improve safety, including gender-responsive police services. The New Delhi Safe City Program has also conducted safety audits of 25 areas in the city and audits were piloted in Mumbai and Bengaluru.
3. Cairo, Egypt
Cairo, Egypt
Cairo, Egypt
Photo: David Evers, Flickr
According to a report by the Egyptian Centre for Women's Rights, 51.6% of Egyptian women have been subjected to verbal harassment and 31.8% to physical sexual harassment. One of the reasons survey participants gave for the violence is a weakness of law enforcement and surveillance.

As a part of the Cairo Safe City Program, women's safety audits have been implemented into the Egyptian Ministry of Housing, Utilities and Urban Development planning process. This allows local women to identify safety conditions in their communities and to build partnerships with authorities.
4. Kigali, Rwanda
Kigali, Rwanda
Kigali, Rwanda
Photo: Kigali Wire, Flickr
According to United Nations statistics, 25 out of 30 provinces in Rwanda experience a high level of gender based violence, including in the capital, Kigali.

A Safe City Campaign in Kigali is underway with support from the mayor's office which advocates reforming gender-based violence laws so that they include sexual harassment and violence in public spaces.
5. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
Photo: UN Women, Flickr
Studies undertaken in six of Port Moresby's markets reported that 55% of women and girls who participated in the study had experienced sexual violence and 64% of male and female participants had witnessed sexual violence against women and girls at the markets and nearby area.

Work is currently underway at Gerehu Market to refurbish the venue in such a way that it is safer for sellers, 80% of whom are female. The changes include improved toilet and shower facilities, support avenues for victims of violence and cashless transactions which reduce the risk of theft. Local bylaws are also being implemented to improve safety for women and girls.