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Raashi Mishra

Student - Gargi College | Posted on |

Safer cities for women: the finalists


Safer cities for women: the finalists

Since the emergence of the #MeToo hashtag in 2017, the disturbing reality of the scale of violence against women at home, work, school and outside in their cities has come to light in the mainstream.

The finalists of the third edition of the Womanity Award 2018, themed ‘Creating Safer Urban Environments for Women’, are making global cities, transport systems and public spaces less threatening for girls and women.

The Womanity Award unsurfaces innovative solutions around the world and focuses on the power of collaboration to address the root causes of Violence Against Women (VAW). At the heart of the Womanity Award is the aim to take these solutions to scale through a carefully supported process of adaptation by partner organisations in new settings.

With the support of The Womanity Foundation, organisations from different parts of the world expand their reach into new geographies, with the aim of preventing violence against millions more women and girls.

Womanity Award programme manager Laura Somoggi says: “Creating safer private and public environments means harnessing the power of women and men, businesses, public institutions, and civic society. They need to collaborate to design and develop – among other things – buildings which feel safe for women, streets which are well lit, safer public transport and solutions which involve women’s voices. Our finalists are very much at the leading edge of this work.”


Liveable Environments: Applying safety audits to housing projects and the surroundings – Col.lectiu Punt 6 and Instituto Mujer y Sociedad

From Spain and also having worked in Colombia, finalist Col.lectiu Punt 6 are a collective of feminist urban planners, architects and sociologists.

Their Liveable Environments programme works with local women and governments to assess safety in the city. They look not only at public spaces, but also housing developments and the surroundings to see where improvements can be made.

With the results, Col.lectiu Punt 6 designs and maps plans for safer urban spaces and new social housing developments with features such as more visibility and better communal places for women inside and outside the home.

The collective plans to work with the Instituto Mujer y Sociedad (IMS) to replicate the programme in two neighbourhoods of Montevideo, Uruguay.

IMS has more than thirty years of experience in providing legal and psychological assistance to victims of gender violence, helping reduce violence against women and girls, and creating knowledge and education programmes on gender-based violence. They work very closely with local civil society organisations and the government on the defence of human rights.

To find out more about the finalists innovative plans click here

Safer Cities for Girls – Plan India and Vishakha

Plan India Safer Cities for Girls strives to increase girls’ and women’s safety in India and access to public spaces, as well as amplify their voice on how they want their cities to be.

Plan India works with governments and gives training to boys, families and communities to promote a supportive social environment for girls. The programme also creates and promotes safe youth clubs and community safety walks. They have a particular interest in addressing and preventing violence in public spaces and on transport, particularly sexual violence.

After the pilot programme in Delhi, Plan India found that 15% more girls reported always feeling safe in public spaces and 48% more girls said they were starting to get involved in local issues.

Plan wants to extend the programme to at least 20 cities. As a finalist, they will work with women’s rights organisation Vishakha to expand the programme to Jaipur, the largest city of the Indian state of Rajasthan.

Vishakha is a respected organisation which played a key role in a major petition in 1997 in India which led to the Supreme Court issuing guidelines for prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace that year. They have a very strong relationship with local communities in Jaipur.

To find out more about the finalists innovative plans click here

Safetipin Safety Audit Apps – Safetipin and Soul City

Finalist Safetipin has produced four Apps, including My Safetipin App, which sees red, orange or green pins dropped on city maps indicating which areas are the safest for women. Women’s safety apps gather crowdsourced information of women’s feelings of safety and other criteria such as lighting, quality of walk/ cycle paths and gender balance in public spaces.

The Safetipin Apps are currently being used by over 85,000 people in 12 cities, mostly in India but also in others such as Bogota, Nairobi, Manila and Jakarta.

In Delhi, seven different government departments have used Safetipin’s data to make improvements, including to fix all dark areas. And in Bogota, the local authorities have used the app to audit and improve bike paths in the city.

Safetipin is partnering with the Soul City Institute for Social Justice for Young Women and Girls in South Africa. This scale up will allow the support to be geared to a country which has a femicide rate five times the global average (Statistics SA, 2016).

Soul City is recognised globally for its pioneering work on social change communication. It uses a combination of mass/social media, social mobilization and policy advocacy to bring about social change. It is also currently working on the Safe Taxi Campaign to reduce abuse and sexual violence on public minibus taxis, the most used means of transport in Johannesburg.

To find out more about the finalists innovative plans click here


A recent World Bank Study (2018) shows that four in five countries have laws to protect women from sexual harassment outside the home, but these laws often do not cover harassment in the streets.

The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has set the elimination of “all forms of violence against all women and girls in public and private spheres” as one of its specific goals.