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Transportation resources can make a difference

Why are girls and women unsafe in the low income areas? Exposure is one of the reasons. Exposure to dangers such as physical violence. But, why? The research is based on comparing my own experience -living mainly in Spain, Poland, England and Switzerland- and the experience of a girl from Nairobi. Months ago, Avaaz sent a public petition to ensure justice was done to a girl with the pseudonym of Liz. Even if I have always been living in middle-income zones, the safety feeling is the same here and there. As result of the research, transportation has turned out to be the one of the majors key safety components: It does not matter how much you lit a street, if you always have to walk till your house and cross empty or gang areas.

Photo of Zohartze Palacio
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From europe, from africa, women from any part must be equally treated and have the right to walk safely in their neighbourhood or in any part of the world. Comparing stories we discover and we learn. My lifestyle and Lizy's have nothing to see, but we are both women and we both need not only feel safe, but also be safe. If we base on each one's experience, we learn, we solve and we construct a new world together. 

Danger is anywhere in the world until attitudes are changed. Meanwhile, we have to construct ways to protect the girls and women in areas where there barely are resources. When I was writting down my experience and creating the illustration from above, I realized that my safety experience is based on: 
  1. Resources to get home without walking through dark areas and empty streets. 'Resources' means mostly: transportation. If my family would not have a pribate vehicle, I would have to go walking alone everytime I was out till late.
  2. Safe public transportation. When i lived in Poland, i felt safe taking the bus at any time as always they were lot of people on them. However, i would never had taken a train during the night, neither in england. In Malta, I never took a bus in the night, as I heard it was unsafe as the bus belonged to the driver... and you never know which can be the plans of the driver if you are the only passenger. But in Spain and Switzerland, I do feel safe as there is lot of security going on inside the train and people transmit tolerance and no agresivity. For example, the incident that last december happened in New Delhi is intolerable and unbelievable in the western countries.
  3. Mobile phones make us feel safer. Sometimes it does not really safe you but at least you know there is a chance of calling someone asking for help. A couple of friends were assaulted when they were both talking with a friend in the telephone going back home in the night. In both cases, the person who was in the other side of the line inmediately called the police.
But Lizy didn't have these options in her not developed town, and without resources. But safety is a right that everyone must have. Governments should protect their citiziens and invest more in these areas. 

Focusing in a safe transportation network for these areas can be key. Not only to ensure safety, but also make girls and women be part of the streets and empower their confidence. Now, another question would be if governments and volunteers could finanze a simple-low cost transport network for low-income areas. 


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I am also exploring if the most immediate way to make cities safer is to make public transport safer.

Photo of Zohartze Palacio

Now that ideas phase has arrived, we could work on strategies based on public transport

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