TACKLING GENDER EXCLUSION - Experiences from the Gender Inclusive Cities Programme

The Gender Inclusive Cities Programme (GICP) was a three-year initiative, implemented from 2009 – 2011. Funded by the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UNTF), it was coordinated by Women in Cities International in MontrĂ©al, Canada (WICI) and implemented by four partner organisations working on the ground in different cities. These implementing partners and the participating cities were:

  • the Information Centre of the Independent Womens Forum (ICIWF) in Petrozavodsk, Russia;
  • the International Centre for Network and Information on Crime  Tanzania (ICNIC-T) in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania;
  • Jagori in Delhi, India;
  • the Exchange and Services Centre, Southern Cone, Argentina - Coordinator of the Latin America Women and Habitat Network (CISCSA) in Rosario, Argentina;

Pre-existing working partnerships with WICI, previous work or familiarity with safe cities for women themes and geographic location were the three main factors that led to the involvement of ICIWF, ICNIC-T, Jagori and CISCSA in the GICP.

In 2008, a group of experts involved with WICI conceived of the GICP as a way to take the work in the safe cities for women field forward, addressing some of the knowledge gaps mentioned above. This was to be achieved through the creation of a cross-regional research initiative with a focus on developing interventions that were both evidence-based and context-specific.

The starting point was recognition that to build cities that are safe and inclusive for women (and other groups), it was essential to know whenwhere and why women feel safe or unsafe, and included or excluded from city life. It was also important to gain an understanding of what kinds of policies, programmes and activities enhance or detract from women’s right to the city.

A further consideration was that the concept of gender-inclusive cities was still new to many stakeholders, including women themselves and there was, therefore, a general need to increase public awareness, engagement and advocacy around the issue of women’s safety and inclusion.

Against this background, the GICP was directed towards three inter-related objectives:

  • The development of comprehensive and reliable data on gender inclusion and exclusion in cities with a particular focus on sexual harassment and sexual assault (SH/SA) in public spaces.
  • The enhancement of public and stakeholder awareness of womens rights, access and inclusion in the city, and their engagement in partnerships.
  • The creation and testing of evidence-based pilot interventions aimed at decreasing SH/SA to achieve greater gender equality and inclusion.

An International Advisory Committee was set up to provide inputs and feedback to the programme and included a range of experts in the field of safe cities, VAWG, urban violence and crime prevention. In addition, each city set up a local Advisory Group to give similar inputs at the city level. In each city, the project has unfolded in three phases:

  • Phase 1: Information gathering (street surveys, focus group discussions, WSAs, and policy reviews including interviews).
  • Phase 2: Public and stakeholder awareness, engagement and advocacy (public meetings, workshops, reports, media events, cultural events, and meetings and capacity developmentwith women).
  • Phase 3: Interventions (unique to each city and based on the information gathered about local issues related to womens safety and inclusion).

This publication has been produced to disseminate the knowledge and experience gained by all partners working on the GICP, as it represents the first cross-regional multi-country programme in the safe cities for women field. It does not attempt to provide a comparative analysis of the four cities involved, nor does it offer an impact evaluation for the reasons given above.

It is hoped that this publication will be a resource of use to women’s and community-based organisations, development agencies, governments, urban planners, police, media, academics, and public service providers. It includes examining, city by city, the design and delivery of interventions, a series of cross-programme perspectives, cross-regional analysis of gender exclusion, and reviews of the methods and approaches used by partners to empower women as well as a critique of this multi-country programme. It concludes with findings from the four cities and an assessment of the implications of these.