Safety For Women In Cities

I find the newly released UN-Habitat Report on State of Women in Cities (2012/1013) interesting to read. Women and men experience urbanization differently. Gender analysis gives us knowledge of how women have to deal with many forms of discrimination when coming to cities to find job. They often ends up getting low-paying job in the service sector, and in entertainment and sex-related industries with little opportunity for career advancement and life improvements. The report gives us a gender dimension on a city-productivity and better understanding of the relationship between gender and prosperity. Making city life safe for women is a challenging issue in urban development because women more than men are prone to become victims of violence in city streets, bus and train station. They also have to endure sexual harassment in their work place. The report suggests a review of policies and institutional framework relevant for mainstreaming gender concerns in city planning and management. The timing in releasing this report is good. It coincided with the 24th Session of the Governing Council of UN-Habitat (15-19 April 2013) under the theme of “Sustainable Urban Development: The Role Of Cities In Creating Improved Economic Opportunities For All”, which must mean equality of service and opportunity for women and men. I want to emphasize that for women living and working in cities, personal security and reduction of crime are all the time their main concerns. City Administration must make sure that streets and public space are well-lit at night. And it must go hand-in-hand with effective crime prevention programs. Elderly women are vulnerable physically, when moving around the cities on their own. They need specific protection measures and appropriate assistance. Recruitment of more female police officers is one action that will help a lot, especially in making women feel more secure in city environment. We must work together to remove all barriers to women’s participation in management of community livelihood in a sustainable human settlement and development of cities.

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