Guiding Principles for The Women’s Safety Challenge
As we dive into another collaborative challenge for social good, we thought we might take a moment to share some Guiding Principles for this challenge. These principles seek to provide direction, inspiration and focus during our collective efforts:
What Do We Mean by ‘Safety’?
The word safety immediately conjures up specific images and feelings: walking alone at night, feeling secure when you’re home, knowing that emergency services are easily accessed. But for this challenge, we encourage everyone to think one step further in our definition of safety in an urban context: what are the factors, people, systems or other interactions that enable women and girls to not just feel safe from imminent harm – but also empowered and on equal footing with men and boys in their community? Another way to consider this: what are the positive after-effects that women experience when they feel safe and secure? How does their confidence, quality of life and standing in society improve when they feel safe?
Safety is Personal
Feeling safe – and experiencing moments when our safety is challenged – is an inherently personal experience. Just as there is no single right way to respond to a crisis or emergency, there is no one right way to feel about or describe either our own or someone else’s experience with violence. While we hope many of us will be inspired to share personal stories, we encourage everyone to keep in mind that OpenIDEO is a public, global forum and that any private information you share will be publicly viewable by a global audience.
As we share stories of safety and security, let’s keep in mind that folks from all over the world – of varying ages, demographics and cultural sensitivities – will be participating in our discussion. When in doubt, it’s best to choose descriptive language that a diverse audience of people will feel comfortable reading and engaging with. This includes refraining from graphic depictions of violence and using derogatory or offensive language.
As we dive into this complex and multi-layered issue, it might be easy for us to start pointing fingers at governments, civic legislation or other politics. While local and national governments no doubt play a role in ensuring safety and security for everyone, they're not the crux of our conversation in this challenge. Instead, let’s stay focused on the other levers we can pull – from urban planning to behaviour change – as we design high-impact solutions.
The topic of safety for women and girls is truly universal – each of us has either experienced a moment when our security felt threatened or knows someone who has. While our focus is on women and girls, we firmly believe that men and boys are not just invited to the conversation but are in fact a vital part of any solution. As we embark on this newest challenge together, let's remember that everyone's experiences and opinions are welcome, as long as the content we share is thoughtful and respectful.
Staying Optimistic and Solution-Focused
As we discuss and design ideas to support safety for women and girls, we each might feel a tendency to find fault, debate the issues or focus on what's not working. We might also be tempted to turn this into an ideological discussion where we're finding fault with religions, cultures or societal norms. In keeping with our OpenIDEO community spirit, let's instead focus on the positive and recognise our differences of opinion as design opportunities for our efforts together. Staying optimistic, hopeful and focused on positive solutions will not only help us collaborate better – but also to design better, together.
With that, head over to the challenge to join the conversation.