Our Work

Our Work: Programming, Technical Assistance, Research, and Events

Programming

Right to Campus (September 2016 – )

Right to Campus is an awareness campaign developed by interns Dina Al Shawwa and Arianne Kent. Their goal is to promote and propagate an inclusive, equitable, and safe McGill culture. Right to Campus focuses on issues pertaining to the right to public space and will be implemented on McGill’s downtown campus, launching at the start of the school year alongside McGill Orientation Week 2016.

To stay updated on their progress, events, and to learn about useful resources, check out their website Right to Campus!

Right to Campus is also currently looking for a social media volunteer and a research volunteer, to begin in January 2017. Please see their website for details on how to apply and the requirements.

Upcoming Right to Campus events:

  • Film screening and panel discussion, January 23rd, 2017
  • Art Show for International Women’s Day at the Glass Door Gallery (Montreal), March 9th, 2017

Past Right to Campus Events:

  • McGill’s SEAMLESS ConferenceThroughout the year we are participating in the Student Executives at McGill, Learning, Engaging, Sharing, & Strategizing (SEAMLESS) conference series hosted by McGill’s Campus Life and Engagement Department. The goal of this conference is to engage with the various stakeholders on campus and to learn the ways in which to create and propagate change.
  • Studio XX: Safety Strategies Workshop“Safety Strategies is a collaborative art project that seeks to critically explore and creatively document how women and self-identified women, trans, members of the LGBTQ community, and women with limited mobility build a sense of safety when negotiating Montreal’s urban environments. While cities are often poorly designed and potentially dangerous, they are not unalterable.” As participants in this workshop, we created memory maps of the safety strategies we utilize when navigating public space.
  • McGill’s Community Engagement Day (CED), September 29th 2016

As a part of McGill’s Community Engagement Day (September 29th, 2016), we are conducting two safety audits on and around McGill’s downtown campus to determine issues pertaining to perceived/real safety on campus according to the participating students. One of the audits will be conducted during the day, and the other during the night, in order to gather a more comprehensive understanding of safety on campus.

The safety audit will consist of three parts– an introductory discussion with background information regarding the use of safety audits and the way in which it will unfold, followed by the safety audit itself, and then a debriefing where we discuss and summarize our findings.

Our safety audit will be intersectional in nature and ensure to include and give consideration not only to genders, but as well to those of varying visible minorities, those of varying sexualities, those of varying (dis)abilities etc.

After the walk we will have a discussion/ debrief, where we will discuss key issues and concerns we found in order to compile a list of recommendations based on our experiences, perceptions, and views. We will follow up by setting up a meeting with the appropriate McGill entity in order to present our recommendations.

  • Park(ing) Day, September 16th 2016

An inter-university event in Montreal, in which we turned parking spaces into a pop up social event! We talked about urban agriculture, student expos, creative arts, and making spaces inclusive!

 

Because I am a Girl – Urban Programme (BIAAG UP) (2010 – )

The Because I am a Girl Urban Programme (BIAAG UP) is a joint programme developed by Women in Cities International,Plan International, and UN-Habitat. The goal of the BIAAG UP is to build safe, accountable, and inclusive cities with and for girls in all their diversity. BIAAG UP will be implemented in five cities around the world: Cairo, Egypt; Delhi, India; Lima, Peru; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Kampala, Uganda. The programme seeks to engage girls to explore questions around gender inclusion, the right to the city and safe cities for girls. Linked with Plan International’s Because I am a Girl campaign to fight gender inequality, promote girls’ rights and lift millions of girls out of poverty, this programme has been developed in a participatory manner and has consistently been validated by adolescent girls along the way. The programme was officially launched at the 6th World Urban Forum in Naples, Italy in September 2012.

From 2010 – 2012, WICI, Plan International and UN Habitat developed the programmatic framework for the BIAAG UP. There were substantial gaps in documented research about how age, gender, urbanization and safety intersect for adolescent girls living in cities, so a number of alternative approaches were undertaken to fill in knowledge. Specifically, a fast talk (rapid virtual expert consultation) was undertaken with international experts to address these gaps, while a parallel e-consultation process was completed with the participation of 38 girls from seven countries. The results of these processes were scrutinized during a multi-stakeholder expert group meeting in Nairobi in 2011 that included the participation of girls from India and Kenya. The meeting served to validate research results, identify priority issues facing girls in cities, and learn from girls what capacities they felt had to be developed for them to participate in a safe cities programme for adolescent girls.

My City! My Safety! (2011 – 2013)

My City! My Safety! is funded by Status of Women Canada within their Blueprint Project programme under the theme “Preventing violence against women and girls and improving their security in Canadian cities”. This project is being implemented within the greater Montréal area and targets teenagers between 12 and 17 years of age. My City! My Safety!activities raise awareness and encourage participants to become active citizens, engaged in the development of safer and more inclusive cities. The goal of this project is for participants to create a media product of their choosing, which will then be broadcast within their community.

During the first year of the project, participants took part in a series of semi-directed workshops, safety audit walks, focus group discussions and media production activities. They were introduced to issues concerning urban safety, including the impact of one’s sense of safety on one’s experience of public life. Some of these participants are now working as mentors with new project participants. To follow the activities of this project, please visit the My City! My Safety! blog. You can also view a video montage made by 2011 – 2012 project participants by clicking below.

Gender Inclusive Cities Programme (2009 – 2012)

The Gender Inclusive Cities Programme: Increasing Women’s Safety by Identifying and Disseminating Effective and Promising Approaches to Promote Women’s Equal Access to Public Spaces (GICP) was funded by the UN Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence Against Women. It was coordinated by Women in Cities International and implemented by four international project partners in cities across the globe:

The GICP aimed to create cities that are inclusive and respect the right of all people, including women, to live, work and move around without fear or difficulty. Project partners used various research methods to identify the factors that cause and perpetuate inequalities and exclusion, as well as the policies and programme approaches that enhance women’s inclusion and “right to the city”. They also worked with key stakeholders and decision-makers at the local, regional and national levels to share findings and to advocate for responsive policy and programme changes. Finally, GICP partners developed their own community-based activities aimed at directly increasing local women’s safety and inclusion.

During the course of the GICP, three major publications were produced: Learning from Women to Create Gender Inclusive Cities: Baseline Findings from the Gender Inclusive Cities Programme (2010),Tools for Gathering Information about Women’s Safety and Inclusion in Cities:Experiences from the Gender Inclusive Cities Programme (2011), and Tackling Gender Exclusion: Experiences from the Gender Inclusive Cities Programme (2012). GICP partners also developed theTen Point Guide to Creating Gender Inclusive Cities (2011).

Action Research Project on Women’s Rights and Access to Water and Sanitation in Asian Cities (2009 – 2011)

This research project, funded by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), focused on governance issues and women’s involvement in decisions affecting water and sanitation (WATSAN) in slum areas in Indian cities. The project tested the use of the women’s safety audit tool (a well-developed and tested methodology used by women to engage their community in safety initiatives) to explore possible changes in local governance that can better meet the needs of women and girls living in slum areas. WICI worked with an implementing partner, Jagori , on this project. Results and learning were published in A Handbook on Women’s Safety Audits in Low-Income Communities: A Focus on Essential Services (2010) and Gender and Essential Services in Low Income Communities (2011). A two-part video documentary about this project,Our Lanes, Our Lives, was also produced. Click below to view.

Part One:
Part Two:

Creating Safer Communities for Marginalized Women and Everyone (2007 – 2010)

Creating Safer Communities for Marginalized Women and Everyone was funded by Status of Women Canada. The aim of this project was to build partnerships between municipalities and local women’s groups composed of marginalised women. During the project, partnerships were formed through the joint implementation of activities which created more secure communities for marginalized women.

WithinCreating Safer Communities for Marginalized Women and Everyone, main project activities included:

  • Designing and implementing training on women’s safety audits with four women’s organizations located across Canada. Each participating organization worked with a target group: Aboriginal women, elderly women, disabled women, or immigrant and visible minority women;
  • Implementing three safety audits in each of the four Canadian communities with the respective women’s organization and target group;
  • Providing training on partnership-building with municipalities around the use of safety approaches and women-led community improvements;
  • Drafting and disseminating a report on findings of the project, with a special focus on the experience and adaptation of safety approaches to each target group of women.

The four Canadian women’s organizations who implemented this project were:

To learn more aboutCreating Safer Communities for Marginalized Women and Everyone,please read the project publicationTogether for Women’s Safety (2010).

Technical Assistance

Because I am a Girl – Urban Programme (BIAAG UP) (2010 – )

The Because I am a Girl Urban Programme (BIAAG UP) is a joint programme developed by Women in Cities International,Plan International, and UN-Habitat. The goal of the BIAAG UP is to build safe, accountable, and inclusive cities with and for girls in all their diversity. BIAAG UP will be implemented in five cities around the world: Cairo, Egypt; Delhi, India; Lima, Peru; Hanoi, Vietnam; and Kampala, Uganda.The programme seeks to engage girls to explore questions around gender inclusion, the right to the city and safe cities for girls. Linked with Plan International’s Because I am a Girl campaign to fight gender inequality, promote girls’ rights and lift millions of girls out of poverty, this programme has been developed in a participatory manner and has consistently been validated by adolescent girls along the way. The programme was officially launched at the 6th World Urban Forum in Naples, Italy in September 2012.

From 2010 – 2012, WICI, Plan International and UN Habitat developed the programmatic framework for the BIAAG UP. There were substantial gaps in documented research about how age, gender, urbanization and safety intersect for adolescent girls living in cities, so a number of alternative approaches were undertaken to fill in knowledge. Specifically, a fast talk (rapid virtual expert consultation) was undertaken with international experts to address these gaps, while a parallel e-consultation process was completed with the participation of 38 girls from seven countries. The results of these processes were scrutinized during a multi-stakeholder expert group meeting in Nairobi in 2011 that included the participation of girls from India and Kenya. The meeting served to validate research results, identify priority issues facing girls in cities, and learn from girls what capacities they felt had to be developed for them to participate in a safe cities programme for adolescent girls.

Adolescent Girls Creating Safer Cities: Harnessing the Potential of Communication for Development (2011 – 2012)

In 2011, in New Delhi, India, WICI participated in the 12th UN Round Table on Communication for Development (C4D), on the theme “The Role of C4D in Empowering Adolescent Girls”. The roundtable discussed the continued expansion of C4D strategies that have increased citizen participation and empowerment, and have large potential for facilitating community empowerment and social change. Participants shared examples of how C4D principles and strategies can be applied to support the needs of adolescent girls and contribute to their safety, education, livelihood and overall empowerment.

Representatives from civil society organizations, UN agencies, and adolescent girls themselves formed the nearly 100 participants of the roundtable. The meeting’s objectives were to show how C4D has the potential to improve initiatives for and with adolescent girls across various sectors and agencies, and exploring new avenues in collaboration among global, regional and national levels on C4D.

The Roundtable resulted in the production of seven final recommendations to the UN around C4D on issues of advocacy, capacity development, strengthening research and knowledge, and knowledge management. As a result of these activities, WICI worked with UN-Habitat and Plan International to produce the publication Adolescent Girls Creating Safer Cities: Harnessing the Potential of Communication for Development (C4D) (2012).

UN Women Global Safe Cities Programme Free of Violence against Women and Girls (2010 – 2011)

In collaboration with key partners International Centre for Research on Women and Red Mujer y Habitat de America Latina, Women in Cities International provided technical and programming assistance to UN Women for their Global Safe Cities Programme Free of Violence against Women and Girls .The objective of the Global Programme is to deliver the first proven approach on how to prevent and reduce violence against women and girls in public spaces (through rigorous evaluation), and to provide a model that can be scaled up in many contexts—furthering women’s empowerment and gender equality, while enhancing the quality of city life for all. The Global Programmeis being piloted in five countries: Egypt, India, Papua New Guinea, Equator, and Rwanda.

In order to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of the Global Programme, WICI generated recommendations and input towards a programme design which responds effectively to the varied needs of women on the ground, living in vastly different social and economic contexts. WICI also coordinated the production of a general curriculum for the programme covering various topics on safer cities for women and girls.

The UN Global Safe Cities Programme aims to deliver the first proven approach on how to prevent and reduce violence against women and girls in public spaces. In 2014, WICI generated recommendations and input towards the programme design, and coordinated the production of a general curriculum for the programme covering various topics on safer cities for women and girls. WICI laid the foundation for innovative work with adolescent girls through a fast talk consultation with four experts on adolescent girls’ safety. WICI partnered with ActionAid International, Plan International and the Huairou Commission to host an event titled ‘Safe Cities for Women and Girls are Imperative to Achieve MDG3’ during the 58th Commission on the Status of Women meetings in New York City. WICI participated in the Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM) Carrefour du monde. WICI participated in the Montreal-based project ‘Where are all the women and girls’ presentation at the 36th Congress of the Société de criminologie du Québec, which included the theme ‘Crime Prevention and Responsible Citizenship: local and international approaches’. WICI was the keynote speaker for Plan International’s Global Leadership Conference in London, UK. WICI launched a two-year project called “Building Community- Based Partnerships for Local Action on Women’s Safety”, funded by Status of Women Canada. WICI organized The Women’s Safety Awards in order to recognize good practices and municipal policies relating to women’s safety and the improvement of women’s sense of safety. WICI collaborated in the creation of a website in preparation for the third World Urban Forum.

UN Women Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls: Safe Cities Component (2008 – 2009)

In partnership with Red Mujer y Habitat America Latina, WICI developed the “Safe Cities” component of the UN Women Virtual Knowledge Centre to End Violence against Women and Girls. This web resource is designed for use by women’s and community organizations, government bodies, planning and transportation officials, academics and researchers, public service workers and local women. It focuses on providing accessible “how-to” guidance on the process for creating safe cities and communities for women and girls.

Research

The State of Women’s Safety in Ouagadougou (2012)

Women in Cities International is producing a report based on research done by UN-Habitat focusing on the state of women’s safety in the city of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The report will serve as a tool for women’s grassroots groups or anyone working on women’s safety in the capital and in western francophone Africa in general. The research not only depicts the state of women’s safety, but also the consequences of insecurity on women’s and girls’ social opportunities and on Burkinabe society in general. The knowledge compiled in this report is the result of extensive research using qualitative and quantitative questionnaires, focus group discussions, literature reviews, as well as safety audit walks. The data is being used to produce a tool and to outline possible ways forward to improve the security and inclusion of women and girls in Ouagadougou. This project is funded by UN-Habitat.

How to Evaluate the Women’s Safety? Gender-sensitive Monitoring and Evaluation Indicators to Evaluate Community Safety Projects (2012)

This report, commissioned by UN-Habitat, reviews gender-sensitive monitoring and evaluation indicators in relation to community safety projects.

How to Evaluate Women’s Safety? fills gaps in the literature of gender and evaluation which do not address community safety and crime prevention projects simultaneously. The report draws upon feminist critiques in order to mainstream gender in monitoring and evaluation practice. Case studies are provided to illustrate how a gender approach to monitoring and evaluation is particularly relevant for evaluating community safety initiatives given that women are often victims of crime.

It focuses firstly on current trends in international organizations to promote the use of gender indicators in the practice of monitoring and evaluation. It then discusses the evaluation of crime prevention and violence against women. The report proposes a participatory methodology to enable women’s empowerment, given that crime prevention and community safety are prerequisites to the development of communities.

It is recommended that this work be used as a first step towards the creation of a handbook and gender assessment tools for community safety.

A Gender Lens on INFC Provision and Use (2012)

The goal of A Gender Lens on INFC Provision and Use is to expand the knowledge base of Infrastructure Canada on the gender impacts of the provision and use of infrastructure and infrastructure-related services. Research was structured around key questions:

  • To what extent does public infrastructure development produce different results for men and women?
  • Do different genders benefit from public infrastructure in different ways?
  • Do programmes treat genders equally but not produce equitable results?

Are there fundamental ways that pubic infrastructure and infrastructure services are planned and designed that do not have an equal effect on the well-being of women and men?

Women’s Safety Audits: What works and where? (2007 – 2008)

Funded by UN-Habitat, Women in Cities International undertook an international comparative evaluation study of the women’s safety audit tool, Women’s Safety Audits: What Works and Where? (2008). This report uses a literature review, surveys and interviews to determine:

  • What women’s safety audit strategies work in what contexts;
  • What challenges exist internationally in the use of women’s safety audits as a tool to (a) prevent urban violence and (b) to empower and increase women’s involvement in governance;
  • What kinds of concrete outcomes result from the use of women’s safety audits in terms of (a) design changes and (b) strengthening women’s involvement in local planning and governance.
Global Assessment on Women’s Safety (2007 – 2008)

Funded by the UN-HABITAT Safer Cities Programme, the Global Assessment on Women’s Safety (2008) was a collaborative effort between Women in Cities International, the Huairou Commission and Red Mujer y Habitat. The authors developed the International Women’s Safety Survey and distributed it to practitioners worldwide in order to collect information on successful practices and tools in the area of women’s safety. Survey results were compiled and shared in this publication, as well as at the International Conference on the State of Safety in World Cities 2007 in Monterrey, Mexico in 2007.

Building Community-Based Partnerships for Local Action on Women’s Safety (2005 – 2006)

The goal of this initiative, funded by Status of Women Canada, was to increase women’s involvement in the public policy processes that affect their safety in their communities. Women in Cities International developed a framework for creating effective and sustainable partnerships between women’s organizations and municipalities (or other stakeholders) to promote women’s safety in communities. The framework was tested and implemented in five communities across Canada:

  • Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island
  • Bellechasse, Quebec
  • Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, Quebec
  • Peel, Ontario
  • Regina, Saskatchewan
  • Williams Lake, British Columbia

The publication Building Community-Based Partnerships for Local Action on Women’s Safety (2007) is the tool that resulted from this research.

The Women’s Safety Awards (2004)

Women in Cities International organized The Women’s Safety Awards in order to recognize good practices and municipal policies relating to women’s safety and the improvement of women’s sense of safety. The focus of this initiative was to encourage institutional change at the municipal level by showcasing good practices and policies and disseminating information on “what works”.

Two Canadian and two international initiatives were awarded in each of the following categories:

  • Advocacy, networking and community mobilization
  • Capacity-building and training
  • Educational programmes and public awareness
  • Safety planning and design for public space
  • Municipal gender-based policies in crime prevention and community safety

Women’s Safety Awards 2004: A Compendium of Good Practices (2004) was produced to disseminate winning participant practices. This project was funded by Status of Women Canada.

Our Events

Summer of 2011, WICI announced an exciting and innovative partnership with les Terrasses Bonsecours in Montréal, Canada.

Anti Street Harassment Week

Women in Cities International was an official sponsor of Anti-Street Harassment Week, an international movement held during the third week of March, in which participants join forces to collectively raise awareness that street harassment is a global problem. As a part of Anti-Street Harassment Week, WICI held two key events in the week of March 18-24, 2012.

Women’s Safety Audit Walk

On March 20, 2012, WICI partnered with Radio CKUT and the Center for Gender Advocacy, two Montréal, Canada-based organizations, to organize an introductory women’s safety audit walk (WSA) in the downtown area. Both Radio CKUT and the Gender Advocacy Center have been collaborating with WICI to exchange information, advice and expertise on youth- and women-centered programming