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Four in five women experience harassment and violence in their cities

New research by ActionAid highlights global epidemic of violence against women on the streets of their cities

Nearly four of five women (79%) in India have experienced some form of harassment or violence in public, according to latest research by ActionAid UK released on Friday, 20th May 2016 which is International Safe Cities for Women Day.

The first of its kind global YouGov poll that surveyed 2,500 women aged 16 and over in major cities across India, Brazil, Thailand and the UK, found that in India 84% of the women who experienced harassment were in the age group of 25-35 years, 82% of them were full time workers and 68% students.

Shockingly, the vast majority of women across the globe have experienced violence in a city with 89% of women in Brazil, 86% in Thailand and 75% in the UK subject to harassment or violence on the streets of their cities.

The research highlighted that across the four countries, it was the poorest women who were most at risk with women in the lowest social economic groups most likely to experience violence or harassment in cities. 

Over a third of women (39%) in India have been groped or touched in public, compared with two in five (41%) of women in Brazil,44% in Thailand and 23% in the UK.

The research asked women when they felt most at risk in their cities or towns and found more women in the UK (43%), Brazil (70%) and Thailand (62%) felt at risk on the streets of their cities, whereas in India women felt more at risk on public transport (65%).

Sehjo Singh, Director, Programmes and Policy, at ActionAid India said:

Safety of women is directly related to patriarchal mind sets that manifests itself in streets, homes and workplaces.  BETI ZINDABAD, a campaign for gender equality supported by ActionAid and several networks and organisations seeks to challenge these mind sets.The fear of harassment and violence has a crippling effect on women’s abilities and potential, and in itself it is an attack on women’s rights."

On Safe Cities for Women Day, ActionAid India urges that we as a society resolve to end patriarchal mindsets and sexist attitudes that are behind this culture of harassment.

ActionAid heartily welcomes the draft “National Policy for Women 2016” released by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, recently and will hold consultations across the country to provide meaningful inputs and suggestions to it. 

We believe such progressive measures will make cities and all spaces safe and inclusive for women and girls.

To read more about the findings: India Survey Results attached

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