New Global Initiative to Make Cities Safer for Women
Fabian Bolano (far right) performs street outreach as part of the Safe Cities Programme in Rosario, Argentina, aimed at reducing rates of violence against women and girls in urban areas. (Photo: Hilary Duffy/UNIFEM)
New Delhi, 22 November 2010—UNIFEM (part of UN Women) today is launching its innovative Safe Cities programme in five cities around the world. Each will test new strategies to stop epidemic rates of violence against women and girls in urban areas.
An unprecedented 3.4 billion people now live in cities worldwide. Crime rates are high, but municipal development and safety plans frequently overlook specific threats to women and girls. The Global Safe Cities Free of Violence Against Women and Girls Programme is the first cross-regional initiative dedicated to making cities safer for them, while improving the quality of life for all city dwellers.
“Every day, women and adolescent girls face sexual harassment and violence as they go about their daily routines—whether on city streets, on buses and trains, or in their own neighborhoods,” said UNIFEM (part of UN Women) Executive Director Inés Alberdi. “This limits their freedom and rights to education, work, recreation and participation in political life.”
Alberdi introduced the Safe Cities programme at the Third International Conference on Women’s Safety, which opened here today. She emphasized that violence against women in private domains such as the home is increasingly recognized as a human rights violation. But violence against women in public spaces remains a largely neglected issue.