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 published today.

The report entitled “Whose City?” has been produced by the charity as part of the Safe Cities For Women campaign which was first launched in 2015 and aims 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 is being launched in Brazil today at the the Safe Cities for Women: practices and experiences seminar, which is taking place during the São Paulo Architecture Biennial. The report is 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 now.

In Johannesburg, on December 6th, ActionAid South Africa will present the reports findings and recommendations to Parks Tau, the President of United Cities & Local Governments. Activista South Africa, ActionAid’s youth network, will lead this mobilisation using dance, drama and spoken word to make their demands heard.

Wangari Kinoti, Women’s Rights Policy Advisor at ActionAid International 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.”

Editors' notes

The full report “Whose City? An evaluation of urban safety in 10 countries” is available to download here.

Please contact Ravneet Ahluwalia ( for further information, interviews or images.