OpenIDEO is an open innovation platform. Join our global community to solve big challenges for social good. Sign Up / Login or Learn more

Plan International's "Adolescent Girls’ Views on Safety in Cities"

In 2012, a Because I am a Girl (BIAAG) Urban Programme study was conducted to understand how safe and inclusive cities were for adolescent girls and was carried out in Cairo, Delhi, Hanoi, Kampala, and Lima. The specific research questions asked were: 1. How do adolescent girls perceive their current city in terms of its safety and inclusivity, and how is this different from the views of other stakeholders in the community? 2. How do the five cities compare to each other, and what are the global trends that emerge? 3. What steps should be taken by the BIAAG Urban Programme to improve the situation for adolescent girls in each city?

Photo of Janice Wong
11 10

Written by

[Excerpt from report] Over 1,400 adolescent girls (1,000) and boys (400) participated in this study across the five cities. While the results from the study are not representative of the views of girls in cities around the world or even within those five cities, the findings do point to some valuable shared experiences that are important to analyse in order to successfully respond to adolescent girls’ safety needs and to build safe and inclusive cities.

In each of the cities, girls share similar experiences of insecurity, of sexual harassment and of feelings of exclusion. They also share visions of future cities that are well-lit, well-planned, and well-maintained and where they are given space to participate. It is arguably the consistency of the vision expressed by adolescent girls both within and across cities that is most intriguing.

The full report can be found here:

In illustrating their visions of an ideal city, which were strikingly similar across the cities, girls and boys drew group maps that included the commonly recurring elements of:
• Access to emergency services
• Access to basic services
• Spaces for play and leisure
• Road infrastructure
• Markets and shopping areas
• Schools
• Transit routes
• Cleanliness
• Housing
• Religious institutions

Interestingly, girls' maps focused a lot on infrastructure, ensuring, for example that hospitals, schools, markets, playgrounds and buses are easily accessible. Boys' maps in contract showed that they placed greater emphasis on having places to go for leisure purposes. 



Join the conversation:

Photo of Sonal Shah

Dear Janice,
I really like this perspective, especially because poor adolescent girls in India work and maybe more exposed to violence / or fear of it. Many thanks for sharing!

Photo of Janice Wong

Thank you Sonal. I was speaking to a woman in Bangalore yesterday and was alarmed at how few measures they are in her city that ensure the safety of women and how vulnerable they feel every day. I look forward to reading more from you and your personal insights into how we can tackle this issue.

Photo of Sonal Shah

Likewise Janice. I have not heard of major campaigns in Bangalore, like maybe Mumbai or Delhi?

There seem to be few initiatives on this front by BMTC, Bangalore's bus operator after the consumer forum showed its survey results.

It would be great to hear your thoughts!

View all comments