Public spaces need to be safe and inclusive for all. Now.

Our new data, released on 10th March 2021, shows that the majority of women and girls in the UK are experiencing sexual harassment in public spaces.

Yet not enough is being done by the Government, decision-makers, funders and owners of public spaces to change this reality.

We’ve collected stories and ideas from over 1,000 women and girls, and now we’re taking those demands to the owners and administrators of public spaces, asking them to implement our solutions now, in time for the UK’s end to lockdown.

Be part of it.

 

 

Imagine a world...

What would you do?

Based on 10 years of creating safer public spaces around the world, and together with you, over the past 3 months we’ve designed 150 solutions for change. We just took them to Parliament and asked the UK’s leaders to take action.

Now, we are working to bring these ideas into a reality – bringing together Government, local authorities, public services and transport providers.

Are you with us?

Over 70%
of women in the UK say they have experienced sexual harassment in public

Only 3%
of women aged 18-24 told us they had not experienced any of the behaviours we asked about

This is a global issue – almost 9 in 10
women in some cities around the world feel unsafe in public spaces

Every 10 Minutes
somewhere in the world an adolescent girl dies as a result of violence.

And the systems in place to reduce violence and harassment ARE NOT WORKING.

Only 4% of women told us they reported the incidents of harassment to an official organisation – with 45% of women saying they didn’t believe reporting would help change anything.

We have to act now.

Data from YouGov Survey of over 1,000 women, commissioned by UN Women UK in January 2021.

Read the full data in the report by the APPG for UN Women, or find out more about the APPG over on our APPG page here.

Safe spaces in music

Read our open letter, signed by artists, festivals and labels, calling for the return of live music to be made safer.

Express Yourself

We’ve brought artists together to influence culture through creativity.

Our virtual gallery, ‘A Safe Space’, is now live – made up of a huge number of specially comissioned artworks and community submissions in mixed media.

Reimagining a safe and free world for women, girls and marginalised groups.

Take a walk around the gallery here.

Open Letter

We are not willing to accept this reality any longer.

So far in 2021, we’ve held online workshops with 400 women and girls, and surveyed thousands more. We’re doing this because we want to be able to show the Government, public space owners and funding bodies that a different future is possible – and this is what it looks like.

Please add your name to our open letter and help us demand change.

Add your name.

We are working to create safe spaces across the world.

 

Under our global UN Women framework ‘Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces’, we have already trained >2,500 bus drivers in Quito, rolled out a behavioural change programme for boys and girls in schools across Cairo, and helped change the law in Guatemala to make women’s lives saver.

Now, we are making this change happen in the UK, with a 3-step campaign.

1. SOURCE

  • Build a complete data picture of safety in women’s lives to surface the reality of where the real problems lie

2. SOLVE

  • Work with owners of public spaces, bystanders and activists to design bespoke solutions that actually work

3. SCALE

  • Take our learnings to the policy decision makers at the highest level to make the change last.

Activists and participants taking part in UN Women UK events

WHAT WE’VE ACHIEVED IN THE UK

Since the project launch at the beginning of this year, we’ve brought together:

50 representatives from the private sector, public services and community activists joined our ‘Movement Makers’ steering group

>1000 women through a national online survey who told us about their experiences of sexual harassment in public spaces

400 women and girls in design thinking workshops to create a blueprint for a safer reality in partnership with the National Lottery Emerging Futures Fund

100 grassroots campaigners for an activist workshop at The Roundhouse, coaching them on how to express and grow their local solutions in partnership with I WEIGH and Change.org

a new APPG made up of Parliamentary representatives, working on Safe Spaces Now as their focus

80 women software engineers, designers and leaders in our Hackathon with Beautystack, designing and making ‘tech for good’ solutions to create safer spaces for women, girls and marginalised groups

300 reports of experiences of safety on London’s streets, which we analysed for our real-time pilot study with Safe and The City to produce insights on what needs to change in urban areas

50 Bristol University innovation hub students who spent a term working to create a digital safe spaces platform with us

50 McKinsey colleagues in a one-day hackathon to develop our digital activists’ hub

10 startups and social enterprise partners working towards safe spaces, at a share and learn evening hosted by Vodafone HQ.

Get involved

Sign up for early access to our virtual art exhibition, A Safe Space, launching online on Friday 2nd April, here.

HAVE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

The Home Office has reopened their enquiry on violence against women, and we have spent the past months collecting 1000s of stories and ideas for change. We need you to be part of this – share your experiences with us in our community survey here.

If your organisation or collective would like to join the Safe Spaces Now Movement Makers, get in touch with us by email. 

UN Women is the only global organisation working for gender equality in every sphere of society: from running grassroots programmes with the most vulnerable, to accelerating attitudinal change with influencers and organisations, and helping goverments design more gender-equal policy.

Our mission is for every woman and girl to have an equal right to Safety, Choice, and A Voice.

We want you to be part of the change – because our voices are louder when we raise them together.

Film credits

Production Company: Missing Link Films
Writer/Director: Florence Winter Hill
Producer: Ben Link

Production Manager: Portia Abatan
1st AD: Ben Keswick
Director of Photography: Ronnie McQuillan
Editor: Flaura Atkinson at Stitch Editing
Colourist: Juliette Wileman at Absolute Post
Sound: Ellis McGourlay at 750mph
Composer: Cora Miron

For full film credits please see our YouTube channel here.