Utilising the participatory methodology of safety audits developed and tested by a range of organisations in the “safe cities movement”, the report looks into the lives of groups of women whose knowledge and views of their urban realities is central to creating safer cities. These include garment workers from urban factory areas in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, women attending universities in and around Monrovia in Liberia, and women informal vendors in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to name a few.
The research explores the ways violence and insecurity limit poor urban women’s mobility and their participation in society. Urbanisation can bring new opportunities, particularly in relation to employment and participation in organised groups. However, it also brings many challenges. Across the world, women experience violence or the fear of violence on a daily basis, travelling to and from work, taking their children to schools and travelling to and from markets. Moreover, urban men and women experience violence differently. They also experience and perceive protection and safety differently. Analysing these differences is a central first step to guaranteeing women’s rights to freedom from violence or the threat of violence in urban areas.