“Tech-ing the Path to Women’s Safety” – Pakistani youth present their ideas for Safe Cities and Public Spaces for women and girls

Lahore, September 28, 2016 (PPI-OT):Pakistani youth act to make public places safe, secure and welcoming for women by pitching street savvy ideas to remove restrictions that hinder women’s public mobility and tackle street harassment. Immobility and street harassment, a big problem for women and girls across Pakistan, calls for bold measures, both individually and socially for its eradication. According to a local study of more than 200 youth in Gujranwala, Pakistan, distressingly, 96% of the girls experienced street harassment.

In designing and planning safe cities and safe public spaces for women, the Government of Punjab’s Chief Minister’s Special Monitoring Unit (Law and Order Wing), the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women and Punjab’s Women Development Department in collaboration with UN Women (the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women) and ‘CIRCLE’ (a leading social enterprise working on women and youth entrepreneurship and leadership), initiated a youth competition where local Universities intensively collaborated to develop innovative solutions to enhance women and girls’ public safety and mobility.

With a call-out issued to Universities in the Province of Punjab, of the ten teams screened, five were selected and received support from mentors on building their ideas to women’s rights in relation to safe cities/public spaces for women and girls.

The finalists presented their solutions to a three-member jury – Fauzia Viqar (Chairperson, Punjab Commission on the Status of Women), Fiza Farhan (Member, UN High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment) and Alexander Hablik (Advisor, GIZ Lahore) – at an event held on Wednesday 28 September 2016 in a local hotel in Lahore.

The pitches included: #ShootWithCamera by digitally empowering women using their mobile phones (Punjab University); “I Was Harassed Here” using digital means to share information on (un)safe streets (Lahore University of Management and Sciences); “Fempower” focusing on rape awareness raising and its prevention (University of Science and Technology); “Out and About” using safe routing and a buddy system with hazard control (Lahore School of Economics); and “Safe Campus” through digital and sustainable protective measures (Lahore College for Women University).

Waheeda Hameed-ud-Din (Minister, Women Development Department, Punjab) presented the award to the winning team – Lahore College for Women University with their “Safe Campus” pitch – who took home a cash prize to support the launch of their idea. The two runners up were Punjab University and Lahore University of Management and Sciences for #ShootWithCamera and “I Was Harassed Here” respectively.

The event was carried out under UN Women in Pakistan’s ‘Ending Violence Against Women and Girls’ programme, with support from the Government of Australia to increase participation of women in society as leaders and change makers based upon: (i) access to safe public spaces; (ii) successful remedies against violence against women; and (iii) awareness about rights and services to promote empowerment of women.

For more information, contact:
Ms. Ishrat Rizvi
National Information Officer
United Nations Information Centre (UNIC)
Islamabad, Pakistan
Tel: +92-51-8355720
Cell: +92-300-8553790
Email: ishrat.rizvi@unic.org