‘Build safe and female-friendly cities’ | Daily News

‘Build safe and female-friendly cities’

World University Service of Canada (WUSC) on Tuesday called on town planners and designers in Sri Lanka to make, building safe and female-friendly cities a core component of urban planning to enable women to fully participate in the life and the economy of the city.

Celene Fung, Strategic Advisor of WUSC and Board Member of Women Transforming Cities International, participating in a discussion on, ‘Women Friendly Cities Challenge’, jointly organized by the National Chamber of Commerce, Sri Lanka and WUSC said that women have historically been excluded from city building and despite progress in many areas; there are still significant gender gaps and inequalities.

“Making women friendly city is not to exclude others but to make the city more inclusive.”

According to her, using a gendered-intersectional lens can eliminate the gaps and ensure that all, including young children and other vulnerable groups like the disabled and migrant community are able to fully participate in the life and economy of the city.

“If a city is female friendly, it is friendly for everybody; and when women are happy and everyone is happy.”

A female-friendly city is one where women’s perspectives are central to the design process, and where women can safely access services such as healthcare, public transport, social services, and education with the same ease and opportunity as men.

The Women Friendly Cities Challenge is an international initiative to educate the public to make cities a safer place for women to give the proper security and safety measure. And it was launched by Women Transforming Cities International at the UN World Urban Forum, held in February, 2018.

It is a call for action to the stakeholders, organizations and academia, corporations to make unified effort to find ways and means towards making it more women friendly and nature friendly environment.

Fung said that Batticaloa district is taking the lead on the Women Friendly Cities Challenge and the Batticaloa Municipality has a vision to develop the city as a model where women could live without any discrimination and free of violence.

Noting that over 90% of Sri Lankan women endure sexual harassment on public transport, Fung highlighted the importance of improving safe public transport for women in Sri Lanka.

In addition, WUSC recommended that Sri Lanka needs to reduce barriers to women participation in paid work, strengthen girls’ early orientation to career development and to improve law and anti- harassment measures to create female conducive workplaces.

Speaking at the event, Ajith Colonne- Formerly from the Directorate of Internal Intelligence, Vocational Training Authority (VTA) National Apprentice and Industrial Training Authority (NAITA) said that many Sri Lankan women in the corporate sector endure harassment mainly from those who have studied in boys’ school.

He suggested that Sri Lanka needs to create mixed schools as much as possible and do away with boys’ and girls’ school concept to address this issue. He also revealed that Sri Lanka administrative service comprises about 80 % of female and 20% of male labour force while education administrative service has 70 % of female and 30 % of male workforce.


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