United Nations Women organization is a global champion for women and girls, created for the purpose of promoting gender equality and empowering women all over the world, in the process also accelerating progress as the needs of women are met. The organization’s dedication in upholding women’s rights and women-focused advocacies gave birth to the Safe Cities Global Initiative covering 24 cities globally. In the Philippines, Quezon City is the pilot city for the implementation of the program.
Women are usually subjected to cat calling, abuse, and sexual harassment, and part of the UN Women’s Safe Cities Global Initiative is a study that would aid in the organization’s goal to develop a comprehensive approach to decreasing the risk of sexual harassment and other forms of violence against women and girls in public spaces.
Last February, the Social Weather Stations (SWS) conducted the study and worked with 800 respondents in Barangays Payatas and Bagong Silangan in Quezon City.
The results of the study indicate the prevalence of sexual harassment, with three out of five women respondents saying they experienced sexual harassment at least once in their lifetime. According to respondents aged 18 to 24, the most prevalent type of sexual harassment is verbal in nature such as wolf whistling, catcalling or lascivious language, while 34 percent of the women respondents experienced the worst forms of sexual harassment such as flashing, public masturbation and groping. Of these incidents of sexual harassment, 70 percent was actually exhibited by strangers. What’s also disturbing is the revelation that one out of two women didn’t say anything about it, nor did they report to authorities or do anything after the incident of harassment. According to these women, keeping quiet was motivated by fear.
In celebration of Women’s month for the entire March, UN Women and the Quezon City Government kicked off a month-long campaign on Safe Cities. During the eve of the celebration of International Women’s Day, the sky lit up with floating lanterns as a symbolic gesture to raise national awareness on the issue of sexual harassment and sexual violence against women and girls in public spaces. Activities for the month-long celebration will also include trainings against sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence against women in public spaces by male advocates of gender equality, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) grassroots organizations, and women with disabilities. Celebrity Glaiza De Castro supports the cause as an ambassador for the campaign and is active in communicating the messages of the organization, with posters and images also displayed all over Quezon City to raise more awareness about the campaign.
Through this initiative, UN Women and the QC government hope that more women will learn how to respond and protect themselves should incidents of sexual harassment occur. Hopefully, even the other sectors of society will get the message and have their eyes opened regarding this issue, in the process creating ripples of change that would make cities safer for women.
For more information on UN Women and its activities, log on to www.unwomen.org or follow UN Women Safe Cities Metro Manila on Facebook and @UNWSafeCitiesMM on Twitter.
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.