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ActionAid demands safe cities for women in new report

ActionAid is calling on governments worldwide to end violence against women in public spaces following their findings in a new report set to be handed to Parks Tau, President of United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) tomorrow at Constitutional Hill.

South Africa received the lowest scoring, in the report entitled “Whose City?” which has been produced by ActionAid as part of the Safe Cities For Women campaign, aiming to advance women’s rights in urban spaces.

“Whose City?” evaluates women’s safety in urban spaces in 10 countries – Bangladesh, Brazil, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Jordan, Liberia, Nepal, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Zimbabwe.

The countries were scored based on the rate of physical and sexual violence women face, the existence of legal frameworks to address gender-based violence and whether or not there is a gender perspective applied in urban planning.

Of the 10 countries Nepal came top with a B grade. Bangladesh, the DRC, Liberia and South Africa each scored D. No countries attained an A or E.

The report launch forms part of 16 Days of Activism around the world, where supporters will call on their governments to put concrete measures in place to protect women in cities.

Tomorrow, at Constitution Hill in Johannesburg, ActionAid South Africa together with Young Urban Women and Activista South Africa, will present the report findings and recommendations to Parks Tau calling on him to use his power as President of UCLG to pressure international members to end violence against women in public spaces and ensure public services are available, accessible, quality and responsive to women’s needs.

Emily Craven, Head of Programmes at ActionAid South Africa said: “Women’s freedom to move through, use and enjoy the cities they live in is restricted and their participation in civic life limited because of daily harassment and violence.

“Violence cannot be reduced unless women’s experiences and voices are put at the centre of planning public infrastructure and services like lighting, housing, public transport and security.

“In 2016, governments agreed on a ‘new urban agenda’ for sustainable cities to support the 2030 Agenda on sustainable development. With this report we are urging them to take action now by building inclusive and safe cities that protect the rights of women.”

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