WICI develops and implements innovative programming for making cities safer and more inclusive of all women and girls. WICI’s programmes are globally united but locally led, working with women’s organisations to respond to local priorities.

WICI’s 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 Conference

Throughout 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.

In 2013, there was continued development of the My City! My Safety! Program through awareness raising in high schools, launching the “Why Women?” magazine, a magazine by and for girls. WICI also led initiatives to get girls involved in the program through theater and art at Saint-Luc high school. We also renewed our partnership with Terrasses Bonsecours at this time.


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).

International Development and Research Centre of Canada (IDRC) generously supported WICI in leading a joint initiative with Jagori and Action India to complete the action research project Women’s Rights and Access to Water and Sanitation in Asian Cities from 2009 to 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.

Safe Cities Free of Violence Against Women and Girls (UN Women Global Program)

In 2012, WICI produced a 12 module curriculum for the program.

Learning Through Difference: Multiscalar Forms of Feminist Organizination (2008-2011)

WICI is one of the two organizations that are the focus of this three year program of action research.

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.