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For the first time in history, there are more people living in cities than rural areas. Each year, over 20 million girls move to cities.

Girls in cities: opportunities vs risks

Transforming cities

Our research shows adolescent girls often don’t feel safe in cities. They experience abuse, and are excluded from decision-making processes that affect their lives.

For girls who live in cities to be able to follow their ambitions, they must be free from discrimination and violence, and have access to equal opportunities.

My, 17, riding on a crowded bus in Hanoi
Safe buses help girls travel independently around cities.

Our Urban Programme, developed with partner organisations UN-Habitat and Women in Cities International, addresses these issues.

Implemented in 5 cities around the world (Cairo, Egypt; Delhi, India; Hanoi, Vietnam; Kampala, Uganda and Lima, Peru), it brings partners and communities together to transform cities into places of inclusion, tolerance and opportunity where girls can thrive.

In Hanoi, for example, we’re helping make bus travel safer, working with girls, bus drivers and ticket collectors so girls can travel independently around the city.

Girls’ voices crucial for safe cities

The Urban Programme provides girls with a platform to discuss the issues they face and the opportunity to provide input into the development of cities. It is essential that girls are listened to so that cities meet their specific needs around sanitation, education, public spaces, transport and access to city services.

Creating safe cities for girls creates long-term economic and social change that will benefit everyone. Safe cities are crucial to achieving gender equality because they will allow the girls who live in them to access all the opportunities they offer.

Join the Because I am a Girl movement