Safer Cities for girls

The world’s cities aren’t safe for girls.

All over the world, women and girls face street harassment every day. No matter what city you live in it’s unlikely you’ll come across a young woman who hasn’t been made to feel uncomfortable in public spaces.


Through our Safer Cities program, we work with girls to make sure they have access to, and can move freely in, public spaces, and are participating in decision-making about their cities.


Photo: Denise, 18, is standing up for the rights of girls in Mozambique. © Plan International / Mikko Toivonen

Our research from five cities around the world, found that:

  • 96% of adolescent girls don’t feel safe in Delhi.
  • 45% of girls reported sexual harassment when using public transport in Kampala.
  • 2.2% of girls say they feel safe in public spaces in Lima.

For the first time in history, there are more people living in cities than in rural areas. Every month, five million people move to cities– and by 2030, around 700 million girls will be living in these urban environments.

I want sexual harassment to end. I want girls to feel safe in their community and I want girls to stop being silent about what happens to them
  • Jackline, 21, Kampala.

Girls’ safety in cities is a global problem. That’s why our Safer Cities programs work with girls to make sure they have access to, and can move freely in, public spaces, and are participating in decision-making about their cities.

Read more about our research into safer cities.

Our Safer Cities program is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).

How we work to make cities safer for girls and young women

Through our Safer Cities for Girls program, developed with our partners UN-HABITAT and Women in Cities International, we want to make sure girls can access and feel safe in public spaces, that they can move around their cities independently, and can participate meaningfully in the decisions being made about their cities.

To make this happen, we’re working with young people in Cairo, Delhi, Hanoi, Lima and Kampala, to:

  • influence governments and policy makers, to make city services safer, and laws more inclusive
  • work with their families and communities, to create an environment that promotes girls’ safety and inclusion
  • support them to create the change they want to see in their cities, and to give them the opportunity to participate in meaningful decision-making.

From girl-led safety walks, to assessing city services, our Safer Cities activities and resources have been created to be easily adapted, to suit cities and countries around the world.

Free to Be

In collaboration with CrowdSpot, Monash University’s XYX Lab and young women, we developed Free to Be, a crowd-mapping tool that shows how safe women and girls feel in our cities.

The interactive map invited girls and women to drop pins – happy or sad – on places they love, avoid, feel safe in and those that can be improved.

The crowd-mapping tool has now been rolled out to five cities across five continents.

Learn more about Free to Be.

Photo: Young woman crosses the road in a suburb in the north of Lima. © Plan International / Anika Büssemeier

Support girls and young women around the world to be free from violence

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