There is increasing concern about women’s safety in cities over the past few years. The fear of violence in public spaces affects the everyday lives of women as it restricts their movement and freedom to exert their right as citizens of the city – freedom to move, study, work, and leisure. Women, particularly those living in low income settlements, feel unsafe in their settlements after dark as the areas are poorly lit, the streets are not well paved, the drain water overflows on the streets making it tough for them to walk, and the bus stops are often located in a corner of the settlements – forcing them to walk in the dark streets.
Creating safety involves much more than just responding to violence. It is important to create the conditions by which women are able to move about safely and without fear of violence or assault. Fear often plays a key role in women’s experience and access to the city. Therefore in order to create greater levels of safety and comfort, both actual violence and the fear of violence need to be addressed. Research has shown that many factors play a role in determining women’s access to the city including urban design and planning, community involvement, improved policing, usage of space etc.