State of the World’s Girls 2018: Unsafe in the City

11 October 2018

Research into the everyday experiences of girls and young women

unsafe, city, urban, girls, women, experiences

Through this ground-breaking research, thousands of girls and young women have shared their stories of harassment and violence for the first time, providing a never-before seen glimpse of what happens to them in their cities and the impact this has on their lives.

Based on research in Delhi, Kampala, Lima, Madrid and Sydney, Unsafe in the city reveals relentless sexist and sexual harassment and abuse and calls for specific actions to allow girls and young women to live without experiencing fear or discrimination on our streets.

“For us there isn’t anything new [in this research]. The most important finding isn’t for us but for the world that you can see how insecure we feel. They harass us, they touch us, they do everything to us. There is finally somewhere where it is written down.” Young woman, 21, reflection workshop, Madrid.

Free to Be

Research was carried out through Free to Be a map-based social survey tool designed, with the help of girls and young women, to enable them to identify, without fear of recrimination, the areas in their city where they feel safe or unsafe. The tool was first piloted by Plan International Australia in Melbourne in late 2016. The findings highlighted inequalities in the city which caused many to sit up and take notice. 

Learn more

Download the local findings of the Free to Be research to understand more about girls’ realities in their own contexts, in their own words.

Download options

Report (English)


2.96 mb

Report (Francais)


3.00 mb

Report (Espanol)


4.37 mb

Summary (English)


476.46 kb

Summary (Francais)


469.75 kb

Summary (Espanol)


437.45 kb

Campaigns, Safer Cities