Women and the city: Examining the gender impact of violence and urbanisation.

Violence and urbanisation in Brazil, Cambodia, Liberia, Nepal and Ethiopia

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.

From an urban planning perspective, cities often struggle to maintain services and infrastructure that adequately meet the needs and are within reach of their growing populations. Specific barriers are experienced by the poor and particularly by poor women. In this research, the challenges faced by women often reflect the safety and health consequences that some migrants face in the process of rural to urban migration, such as lack of access to decent work opportunities, poor access to services and inadequate transportation. However, only too often, the challenges faced by women in cities are interpreted or excused as women’s fault, rather than the result of urban design that fails to take into account gendered impacts. For example, such violence may be excused on the basis of a woman’s choice of dress or her decision to travel alone, at night, unaccompanied by a male. Examining the gender impacts of urbanisation is central to informing programmes and policies that reflect women’s realities and promote women’s right to the city.

Beyond The Garment Factory's Floor from savann.oeurm on Vimeo.

This video is about Cambodian women garment workers live and work in unsafe conditions. Nearly 300,000 workers are employed in more than 300 exported garment factories in Cambodia. Most of them are poor women who have migrated from their provinces because of the result of rural poverty. Over 2300 workers were fainted in the first of the year 2011 alone due to poor circulation and overtime hours. Garment workers is not only face problem of short term contract, low wafe but also their lives are very inadequate. Cambodian women garment workers have faced violence and insecurity in nearly every sphere of their lives. Inadequate policing, overcrowding in retal areas, poor hygiene and sanitation, poor lightinh and distance between retal rooms and toilets increase women's risk of violence including rape.