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Opportunity Areas for the Women's Safety Challenge

Here we have outlined a few of the opportunity areas that emerged during our expert convening in November 2013. Read on, or hear directly from our experts in the videos below.

Population Density    
Low-income urban areas tend to be densely populated – a characteristic usually associated with social challenges such as poor sanitation, resource constraints and high crime rates. When we look at a highly populated neighbourhood as a network rather than a chaotic mass, numerous opportunities for co-advocacy and shared civic responsibility begin to emerge. How might we leverage the population density of low-income urban areas as a catalyst for safety?
Existing Points of Connection
Migration to urban areas often leaves women without a reliable network of support – leaving them vulnerable to violence and abuse. Yet we know that strong social networks are a crucial safety net, helping women avoid harm or cope in the wake of crisis. Luckily, there are already a myriad of connection points within any urban community – from schools, to bus stops, to marketplaces – that could be leveraged to build or strengthen a woman’s personal network. How might we use existing points of connection to build community, support and agency among women and girls?             

Inclusive Solutions                       
Gender-based violence is one of the greatest threats facing women around the world – and its perpetrators are almost always men. As such, many of the conversations around prevention of violence focus on what women can do to keep safe. This approach, despite its positive intentions, implies that women are solely responsible for ensuring their own security. In reality, everyone in the community has a role to play. Men and boys should be active participants in helping their wives, sisters, mothers and friends live safely. How might we engage men and boys in making urban environments safer for women and girls? 

Built Environments
The architecture and infrastructure of our homes and neighbourhoods can dramatically affect safety. Across the developing world, low-income urban areas are often characterised by narrow streets, unpredictable public transportation, a lack of streetlights, inadequate sanitation facilities and insufficient recreation areas. In these cases, urban planning and smart design present an opportunity to bring individuals together, encourage community ownership and improve overall safety. How might we augment the built environment in low-income urban areas to help women feel more safe and empowered?

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