Safe Cities
General Guidance
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What are safe cities and communities for women and girls?

Last edited: October 30, 2010

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A safe city is one in which both the government and civil society guarantee women’s rights in all spheres.

A safe city is one that promotes the elimination of gender-based violence, while at the same time promoting equal opportunities for men and women in all the spheres of social, economic, cultural and political life (access to employment, education, political participation, resources and leisure, etc.).

In general, those cities whose public spaces are more intensely used by diverse citizens conducting different activities at different hours of the day are safer for all, and particularly for women. This is because variety and diversity tend to promote tolerance and peace among citizens. In addition, if there are more people present on the street during the day, there are more “eyes on the street”, which can make it more difficult for an assault or robbery to occur.

In order to promote city space that is well-used and diverse, it is necessary to ensure a pleasant environment, with good accessibility and lighting, ample seating (or public furniture) for different uses, and good maintenance, among other factors, in order to promote people's stay in and use of public spaces. If public spaces lack these factors, they can become neglected, run down, and be or feel more dangerous to women and others.


A safe city for women and girls is…

  • A city where women and girls can enjoy public spaces and public life without fear of being assaulted.
  • A city where violence is not exercised against women and girls in either the home or the street.
  • A city where women and girls are not discriminated against and where their economic, social, political, and cultural rights are guaranteed.
  • A city where women and girls participate in making decisions that affects the community in which they live.
  • A city where the state guarantees the human rights of all people without excluding women and girls.
  • A city where the state and local government take actions to provide attention, prevention, and punishment for violence against women and girls.
  • A city where the state and local government guarantee women’s and girls' access to justice.