Research into the everyday experiences of girls and young women in our cities

Free to Be is a crowd-mapping tool that was developed in collaboration with CrowdSpot, Monash University’s XYX Lab and, crucially, young women.

Girls and young women have been speaking out about street harassment for years, but the evidence base needed to help decision-makers understand and respond to the issue has been lacking.

Following a pilot in Melbourne in 2016, we rolled out an improved version to five cities across five continents.

In 2018, Free to Be enabled young women in Sydney, Delhi, Kampala, Lima and Madrid to identify and share public spaces that make them feel uneasy and scared, or happy and safe. It has empowered young women in these cities to call out unsafe experiences and geographically identify spaces where change needs to occur.

On this page you will find:

Free to Be Maps

What girls from Sydney, Australia have to say about their city

Explore the map below or click here to open the maps in a new window.

Delhi Kampala Lima Madrid Sydney

Girls' Safety Walks

Immersive Experiences

As part of the Unsafe in the City report launch in Sydney, we facilitated a young women-led Girls’ Safety Walk on International Day of the Girl 2018.

Our youth activists took key stakeholders on an immersive walk around the city, looking at ‘hot spots’ and leading activities based on the data and young women’s stories.

These walks give planners, decision makers and local leaders a glimpse into the experiences of girls and young women as they move around our cities. By drawing attention to the themes from the Free to Be data in a practical way, it helps participants identify how their work can influence the experiences of women and girls.

Metro Girl's TakeoverGirls Walk SydneySydney Girls' Walk

Expression of interest form:

Raw data and immersive experiences

If you are interested in accessing the raw Free to Be data, and/or set up a Girls' Safety Walk for your organisation or project, please complete the form below and we will get back to you.

Download Reports


unsafe city coverThrough this ground-breaking research, thousands of girls and young women have shared their stories of harassment and violence for the first time, providing a never-before seen glimpse of what they experience in their cities and the impact this has on their lives. Based on research in Delhi, Kampala, Lima, Madrid and Sydney, Unsafe in the city reveals relentless sexist and sexual harassment and abuse – and calls for specific actions to allow girls and young women to live without experiencing fear or discrimination on our streets.

“For us there isn’t anything new [in this research]. The most important finding isn’t for us but for the world that you can see how insecure we feel. They harass us, they touch us, they do everything to us. There is finally somewhere where it is written down.”

Young woman, 21, reflection workshop, Madrid.

Reporting to Authorities

unsafe city coverUtilising data collected via our Safer Cities Free to Be project in 2018 with Monash XYX Lab and Crowdspot, the ‘Reporting to Authorities’ report is a major study on street harassment, and urges authorities to improve reporting outcomes for girls and young women. Across five cities, the report found that young women’s reports of harassment were largely trivialised by authorities, with responses ranging from belittling, disbelief and dismissal, to further harassment from authorities themselves and a complete lack of justice, resulting in frustration and a lack of trust in the system.

Unsafe on the streets
Unsafe on the Streets Report

Read our latest report, which looks specifically at the nature of the group harassment that was highlighted through Free to Be and how decision-makers can work to address it.

Local Reports from Sydney, Delhi, Madrid, Lima & Kampala

Download the local reports to understand more about girls' realities in their own contexts, in their own words.

What’s changed?
whats changed momentum

Everyone has a role to play in making cities safer and more inclusive. Find out what’s been happening since Free to Be amplified the experiences of girls and young women.

Learn More