Walk like a Woman

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YOU’VE STEPPED INTO THE SHOES OF A WOMAN.

A pounding heart at every strange noise, a firm grip on a mobile phone and keys interwoven between fingers. Second-guessing clothing choice, walking routes, the hour of the night…

Young women everywhere are changing their behaviour in order to feel safer at night. These small acts might seems harmless, but what they really mean is that young women feel like they don’t belong in their own cities the same way that men do.

Ever wondered what women listen to when they walk alone at night?
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NOW IT’S TIME TO STEP UP.

We’re really glad you’re here. Because we need more people like you to step into the shoes of young women, and help make public spaces safer for everyone.

Plan International Australia works alongside children, young people, supporters and partners to tackle root causes of the injustices facing girls and the most marginalised children. Our recent report Unsafe in the City tells us young women have avoided going to school or work because they feel unsafe getting there and back, making existing inequalities even worse. So we have been working with young people here and overseas to identify how we can make cities safer and more inclusive for everyone.

In order for that to happen, we need men to do their part. We’ve asked the young women we work with here in Australia to tell us the small but important things men can do to help everyone feel safe at night.

TIP 1: KEEP YOUR DISTANCE

When walking behind a girl or woman at night, remember that the closer you are, the more threatening you seem. So make sure to leave a good amount of distance between yourself and her. Maybe even take out your phone to show you’re more interested in what’s on your screen than in following her.
If you’re taking public transport, don’t sit next to a woman when there are plenty of empty seats elsewhere – it’s less concerning if you take a seat a few rows away.
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TIP 2: DON’T RUN UP FROM BEHIND

Having someone run up behind you at night can give anyone a fright, but for a girl or woman it can be terrifying. Next time you’re out for an evening jog and see a woman walking ahead, put yourself in her shoes. Cross the road or make sure to leave a good amount of space while passing.
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TIP 3: DON’T STARE

If you’re by yourself, being stared at is intimidating and unsettling. Taking out your phone and focusing on something else can go a long way to showing you’re not a threat. – look out the window to focus on something else, or call a friend to have a chat.
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TIP 4: KEEP COMMENTS TO YOURSELF

Calling out to a woman from your car doesn’t impress anyone, especially not her. What you might see as just a bit of fun, or even flattering, is actually harassment and can be terrifying to lone women and girls. So if you’ve got something to say, keep it to yourself.
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TIP 5: KEEP YOUR MATES IN LINE

You may not harass women, but if you stay quiet while your mates do then you’re part of the problem. So if your mate steps out of line, it’s time for you to step up and tell them it’s not okay.
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TIP 6: BE AN ACTIVE BYSTANDER

If you notice a woman is uncomfortable with someone’s behaviour, show your support by being an active bystander. It can be as simple as standing between a woman and her harasser to block their line of sight. Ask her if she is okay, and back up anyone else who is intervening. If you can’t intervene yourself, or there are others already involved, filming the exchange on your phone can help when filing a police report later.
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TIP 7: SHARE THE WALK

The more men who take the time to ‘Walk like a Woman’ the better. Keep the conversation going by sharing these tips, and helping girls and women feel safer at night.
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Want to do more? Listen to our podcast, Sexism and the City on Spotify where we take a deep dive into city safety and harassment with host Jan Fran, talks with guests about making cities safer for everyone. You’ll hear real, tangible ways you can get involved and support girls globally.

Listen now on

 

Walk Like a Woman is a pro bono campaign created for Plan International Australia by our friends at Cummins&Partners to raise awareness around helping women feel safer when walking alone at night.

The tips for what men can do to help women feel safer have been developed by the young women we work with here in Australia.