What would a city that is safe for women look like?

Sexual violence has hardly been so top at the information schedule. Since allegations towards the film manufacturer Harvey Weinstein began to emerge in October closing yr, the worldwide downside has in the end change into a mainstream factor. The United International locations has estimated that one in 3 girls have skilled bodily or sexual violence, with 120 million women world wide having been pressured into intercourse acts.

The repercussions transcend the bodily and mental toll on people who were attacked. Harassment and worry of violence can obstruct loose motion of women and girls and forestall them attaining their complete possible, each socially and economically. “If girls really feel afraid,” says Laura Somoggi, who manages the yearly Womanity award for the prevention of violence towards girls, “it might undermine their skill to paintings or pass to university or college which impacts their empowerment, their rights.” Worry of assault is a bar to ladies escaping poverty.

On a up to date discuss with to Delhi, Somoggi witnessed the long-term affects first-hand. “If women are confused and inform their folks about it, their folks will inform them to not pass to university. They’re no longer going to check out to unravel the issue. It’s a large social factor.”

A part of the issue is that towns were “deliberate through males, for males”, says Somoggi, who lives in London however is at the beginning from São Paulo.

Whilst sprawling metropolises can’t merely be razed and rebuilt, quite a few measures may also be taken to make streets really feel more secure and to stay girls extra protected when transferring across the town. And greater than ever, girls are being consulted in making plans new city traits.

Delhi: mapping the town from a feminine viewpoint

People use the SafetiPin app in Delhi.



In June, a panel of worldwide professionals polled on international girls’s problems through the Thomson Reuters Basis discovered India to be essentially the most bad nation for ladies. The vicious gang rape and homicide of the clinical pupil Jyoti Singh on a Delhi bus in 2012 introduced girls directly to the streets to protest, and along side their fury, grief and worry got here robust concepts for exchange.

In 2013, Kalpana Viswanath co-founded SafetiPin, an app that goals to assist girls keep secure through letting customers price streets and spaces for protection standards akin to lighting fixtures, visibility, other people density, gender variety, safety and transportation. It additionally aggregates protection knowledge, in part supplied through its customers, to be used through native executive and planners. SafetiPin now has 51,000 issues of information for Delhi on my own, and gives customers “most secure routes”, serving to them navigate the town with much less chance.

Delhi SafetiPin map.



Some other serve as of the app permits girls to have anyone they agree with observe their adventure. “We discover a large number of girls are ready to shuttle at evening the use of those two options,” says Viswanath. “It provides them self belief to shuttle across the town.” And the extra girls mission out, the busier – and more secure – the streets change into.

To assist in making the app’s knowledge complete, SafetiPin’s crowdsourced knowledge is augmented the use of images. “We use an app on a windscreen of a transferring automobile which routinely takes images each 50 metres,” says Viswanath. “We map all the town the use of images, and complement that with person knowledge.” Google Earth and Boulevard View also are consulted for additonal views however SafetiPin’s knowledge is dynamic, Viswanath says, responding to a repeatedly converting town.

In Delhi, the staff known about 7,800 darkish spots the place the lighting fixtures ranking used to be 0. In accordance with this knowledge, says Viswanath, executive departments answerable for lighting fixtures within the town “progressed 90% of the lighting fixtures deficit”. SafetiPin has now been gotten smaller through native government to make tips on tips on how to make metro stations, bus stops, vacationer spots, public bogs and parks extra woman-friendly.

The loose app can be utilized any place on the earth. Thus far there was vital participation in 50 towns (25 in India) and SafetiPin is advising native government or organisations in 10 of them. In Hanoi, as an example, says Viswanath: “They’re development a brand new metro line and sooner than development it they’ve requested us to do an audit of the place they’re going to have their stations. They’re together with girls’s protection within the design.” In Bogotá, SafetiPin knowledge has been consulted to make motorcycle trails more secure, “figuring out the place to support lighting fixtures, position CCTV and position motorcycle stands so girls will really feel at ease the use of them at evening,” says Viswanath. Subsequent prevent: South Africa – because of profitable this yr’s Womanity award. SafetiPin will staff up with quite a few native organisations to map spaces of protection – and are specifically prepared to deal with the unsafe minibus taxis that many ladies have to make use of to shuttle to paintings.

Barcelona: designing female-positive public areas

People eating outside at night in Barcelona.



Collective Level 6 is a cooperative of feminist architects, sociologists and concrete planners who’ve been looking to construct equality into Barcelona’s streets for a decade. Visibility is essential, says member Sara Ortiz, however there’s extra to it than lighting fixtures. “In well-lit puts the place there’s no task, no eyes in the street, other people aren’t going to really feel secure anyway,” she says.

“Eyes in the street” approach each task at the streets in relation to footfall and what’s occurring within the structures that line them. “Whether or not it’s industrial [properties] or no longer,” Ortiz says, “there must be transparency.” From within you’ll be able to see outdoor, and vice versa. In any case, violence towards girls incessantly occurs in the back of closed doorways. Prosperous neighbourhoods may also be the worst offenders on this appreciate, with top partitions shielding properties in order that the streets really feel like a tunnel.

Town streets are riddled with darkish corners and stumbling blocks that make very best hiding puts for possible attackers to cover. In Barcelona, says Ortiz, massive recycling and garbage bins, parking spaces and overgrown crops may also be tweaked or repositioned to cut back lurking spots. The collective recommends crops is not any upper than one metre, so you’ll be able to see in the back of it, and that bushes are maintained in order to not block lighting fixtures. Corners, stairs, alleyways, porches and different constructed sides are tougher to take on retrospectively, however in San Sebastián at the north coast, says Ortiz, “they have got lately authorized a bylaw to make sure the entire entrances to new housing structures are on boulevard degree and keep away from growing hiding puts.”

And on events the place creepy previous traits are to be rebuilt, the collective is able to verify they change into areas for every age and genders. One such undertaking used to be the redevelopment of Plaça de los angeles Llibertat in a municipality with reference to Barcelona, which used to be constructed, says Ortiz, “within the 60s or 70s when the fad used to be to make other ranges and stairs and partitions. It used to be a sq. girls used to keep away from.” Native girls had been consulted at the redevelopment, she says, “and now it’s extra open, and numerous other people use the sq. all through the day and go it all through the evening.” It’s extra pram-friendly, too.

Some other key side, says Ortiz, is how girls are represented within the streets. Ready on my own at a bus prevent exhibiting a sexist commercial can really feel like a adverse atmosphere somewhat than a spot of appreciate for ladies. To struggle this, throughout Spain there were pushes to call streets after girls or female-associated professions. Work of art or public artwork, particularly feminist works remembering the contribution of ladies, are inspired. And Barcelona, says Ortiz, “has a marketing campaign towards gender violence that’s in reality visual in public areas.”

Nairobi, Kenya: feminine empowerment and self-defence

A woman walks at dusk in the Mathare slums of Nairobi, Kenya.



You’ll be able to’t erase the specter of violence towards girls via town making plans on my own, particularly in Nairobi, the place, in keeping with Amnesty World, greater than part of citizens are living in casual communities. In those poorly serviced, cheek-by-jowl settlements, one in 4 women are raped yearly, in keeping with the rape prevention organisation No Manner No International. Its self-defence programme teaches women tips on how to determine a chance early on and try to prevent it in its tracks; for the ones eventualities when “no” isn’t revered, they be told bodily abilities to shield themselves and escape. Boys, in the meantime, are taught to problem rape myths, search consent and to recognise when girls are at risk and get up for them.

A find out about of adolescent women in such a settlements, revealed within the Magazine of Adolescent Well being, discovered 12-hour No Manner No programme greater than halved incidences of sexual attack – a statistic that has been replicated around the programme’s achieve. Ten months after finishing the route, greater than part of feminine individuals reported that that they had used their new abilities to avert sexual attack.

3-quarters of boys educated through No Manner No have effectively intervened in a violent or sexual attack on a girl. And there was a 46% lower at school dropouts because of teenager being pregnant the place the programme is energetic.

Cairo, Egypt: exposing the level of sexual harassment

Volunteers form a safe zone between men and women to prevent sexual harassment during a protest against the then president, Mohamed Morsi, in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, July 2013.



In Would possibly, the Cairo-based actor and previous activist Amal Fathy complained publicly about being sexually confused on a discuss with to her financial institution. She uploaded a video detailing the development announcing the federal government used to be failing to offer protection to girls, simplest to be promptly arrested. In September Fathy, a mom of a tender kid, used to be sentenced to 2 years in jail for possessing indecent subject material and spreading “false information”. She used to be additionally fined for making public insults.

Harassmap, a tool for people in Egypt to anonymously share their stories of experiencing, witnessing, or intervening against sexual harassment.



In a 2017 Thomson Reuters Basis ballot, Cairo used to be discovered to be “essentially the most bad megacity on the earth for ladies”. A UN survey in 2013 discovered that 99.three% of Egyptian girls had skilled sexual harassment, however respectable figures closing yr claimed not up to 10% of ladies had been affected.

It used to be this local weather of worry and denial that spawned HarassMap. Like SafetiPin, it crowdsources knowledge from its customers, simplest as a substitute of protection scores, it’s for logging sexual harassment and violence. When a person stories an incident, they obtain an automatic reaction with recommendation and contacts to assist get toughen and justice.

The purpose is to make simple the size of the epidemic, display that it impacts all girls and it’s not their fault, and divulge the place harassment happens (most commonly within the streets and on public shipping). For the reason that release of HarassMap in 2010, sexual harassment has in the end been recognised as a criminal offense in Egypt, and the HarassMap thought has been replicated in 80 different international locations, together with Greece, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan.

In Cairo, girls have felt emboldened to file extra publicly on social media as a substitute of the map. The #FirstTimeIWasHarassed hashtag introduced closing yr, as an example, has allowed the HarassMap staff to collate virtually 2,000 testimonies of kid sexual violence.

Kigali, Rwanda: growing secure workspaces

Consistent with the International Financial Discussion board, Rwanda is the fourth very best nation on the earth for gender equality, streets forward of Britain and France. In 2017 the UN stated it used to be one in every of only two international locations on the earth with as many ladies as males in executive (the opposite used to be Bolivia).

However that doesn’t imply that existence isn’t difficult and perilous for the estimated five,000 feminine boulevard hawkers within the nation’s capital. So over the last 4 years, 16 secure mini-markets were constructed to offer protected, organised places of work for those girls, entire with breastfeeding spaces.

No longer simplest have the markets made their paintings more secure, however working from an organised marketplace additionally is helping the ladies earn higher livings. And it’s properly established that bettering financial standing is the most productive coverage towards harassment and violence internationally. Moreover, says Emma Carine Uwantege of UN Ladies’s Rwanda workplace, Kigali “is supporting inclined girls, particularly boulevard distributors, to organise into cooperatives and spice up their companies”.

Delivery, too, is being progressed. “Town has been ready to put in CCTV cameras in some buses with voice indicators on sexual harassment and gender founded violence,” she says. “There also are posters on finishing sexual harassment and reporting of the crime.”

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