Safe Cities
General Guidance
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Institutionalize the Programme within the Community

Last edited: October 30, 2010

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Making cities safer for women and girls and addressing gender-based violence implies multi-sectoral approaches, with each one making key contributions based on their respective specialized roles—covering urban planning, to health, police, the judiciary, public transport, and so forth. It is important to consider capacity development needs within each key sector as well as across sectors, to achieve the required level of coordination and cooperation for effective responses over time. It also involves institutionalizing at different levels, from national government to local government and from large organizations (e.g. civil society organizations, private sector entities, school systems and others) to individuals.

A safe cities for women programme becomes institutionalized within the community when citizens from the community consider it a fundamental resource. At the point of institutionalization, safe cities for women principles should be considered and included in all policies and programmes related to the safety of women and girls. In order to become institutionalized, a safe cities for women programme should raise awareness about its goals, activities and successes. It should also participate in the core actions that different partners, like municipal governments and community organizations, undertake (UN-HABITAT, 2007, 71).

Another important element of institutionalizing safe cities initiatives is securing public funding for long-term planning, programme implementation and monitoring by using gender-responsive budgeting and other tools.


Costs of Sexual Violence Worksheet (n.d.). This worksheet, produced by the Minnesota Department of Health, can be used by safe cities for women project partners to raise awareness about the costs of violence against women in the cities. This information can be used to advocate for support for safe cities for women programmes, using the argument that preventing gender-based violence is much more cost-effective than allowing it continue. Available in English.   


Case Study ¿Por qué el presupuesto participativo es una herramienta para pensar una ciudad más segura?

 [How can Participatory Budgeting be used as a Tool for Imagining a Safer City] (Developed within the framework of the UNIFEM Regional Programme "Cities Without Violence against Women, Safe Cities For All", and implemented by the Women and Habitat Network of Latin America. 2008)

This booklet was developed to build the capacity of city councilors working on the participatory budget of the City of Rosario, Argentina, on gender-sensitive projects. This tool shows how people can look at a number of factors to see how the city budget is being used. Factors that can be looked at include: geography – identify areas where there is construction; infrastructure – see what kinds of services the city is investing in; and neighbourhood improvements – see what neighbourhoods have been given money for making improvements and what the process is for deciding on what improvements to make. Participatory budgeting ensures that citizens have a say in how the city budget is being used. Women can use this tool to ask for funding to support their projects to improve safety in their neighbourhoods and the city.  Available in Spanish.


CASE STUDY: Women-Friendly City, Seoul, South Korea

The City of Seoul, in South Korea, has instituted a municipal policy which specifically addresses the needs of women in the city. Within the programme, there are five branches that cover the issues of child care, women’s work, women’s leisure, women’s safety and women’s convenience. The aim of the programme is to have policies and programmes from the branches work together to create a city where more women are employed, more women are able to better balance work and family obligations, more women are involved in city life, and more environmental consideration is given to women’s needs (Seoul Metropolitan Government, 22).

The programme aims to create gender-sensitive policies in all of its departments. This objective requires that each department come up with plans for incorporating women-friendly objectives over four years. As part of the Women-Friendly City Programme, nine key projects have been instituted in Seoul to improve women’s safety. For example, one of these projects includes incorporating design standards for women’s safety in the design of public spaces such as parks and streets. In another example, a project is underway where women-only taxis will be made available for transit around the city. These taxis have women drivers and allow women passengers to send information about their location to family members using a cell phone service (#28).

The Women-Friendly City Programme is sustainable because it has been incorporated into many departments with many budgets dedicated to its work. Moreover, it is sustainable because the government has committed to the programme for at least four years.

For more information about Seoul’s Women-Friendly City Project, contact the Seoul Foundation of Women and Family: 345-1 Daebang-dong, Dongjak-gu, Seoul TEL: +82-2-810-5000 FAX: +82-2-810-5100, web site in Korean and English.