Increased risks and opportunities
By 2030, 700 million girls will be living in urban areas. While there are more opportunities in cities, there are also increased risks. Girls are more likely to be educated and participate in politics and less likely to be married early. However, they face increased abuse, exploitation and insecurity.
Millions of girls in cities are invisible to decision-makers because accurate data on the realities of their lives does not exist. As a result, their specific needs are ignored in decisions that affect them. This leaves them vulnerable and unable to follow their ambitions.
When I use public transport, or walk on the streets, I never feel entirely safe
In order to transform these girls’ lives we need to fully understand their lived realities. This can only be achieved through quality data and asking girls how they experience cities. This will provide richer evidence for policy planning and building inclusive, accountable and safe cities for girls.
“When I use public transport, or walk on the streets, I never feel entirely safe,” says Maribel, a Plan International youth advocate attending Habitat III. “Here in Quito, I would feel safer if there was more light on the streets at night, especially around places where there aren’t many people.”
Making cities safer for girls
During the conference, Plan International will share recommendations from its Urban Programme, run alongside Women in Cities International and UN Habitat. Working in 5 cities across the world, the project brings partners and communities together to transform cities into places of inclusion, tolerance, and opportunity where girls can thrive. As part of this, we provide girls with a platform to discuss their concerns and provide input into the development of the cities where they live.
“Adolescent girls are too often ignored and excluded in urban development and governance processes,” says Alex Munive, Plan International Global Girls’ Rights Programming Advisor. “Their voices must be strengthened in order to build safe cities that are inclusive, and respond to their needs and priorities.”
The New Urban Agenda will affect millions of girls living in cities around the world. It is key to achieving the ambitions of the Global Goals that their specific needs around sanitation, education, public spaces, transportation and access to city services are met.
Plan International has launched a global petition to call on world leaders to make cities safe and inclusive for girls. City authorities will make commitments on the way we build, manage and live in cities. They must be accountable to the residents they serve, including girls.
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