Action-research encompasses participatory and empowering ways of gathering information, and considers women and girls to be experts in their own sense of safety. It focuses not only on the results, but also on the process of doing research.

WICI’s 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.