Safer cities for girls

On November 26 morning, to kick start the action month “Promoting gender equality and ending gender-based violence”, the talk show “Safer cities for girls” hosted at the University of Transport and Communications (UTC) was a resounding success.

The event aimed to raise the public’s awareness on the topic of harassment on buses and other public spaces.

With a special appearance from the beloved actor Xuan Bac, hundreds of students from the University of Transport and Communications (UTC) and Vietnam Women's Academy (VWA) and online audiences watching the Livestream got the opportunity to raise their voices and talk with the panel of specialists.

With lively performances, gifts, thunderous applause, and cheerful laughter, the event successfully engaged with the younger audience and delivered important information and skills to help them end the harassment.

The seminar focused on raising awareness of children, parents, teachers, and the public audiences about building a safe and friendly environment for children, especially girls; promoting measures to prevent violence, harassment, and abuse against children. At the talk show, representative of Plan International Vietnam also shared Plan's interventions to promote the safety of girls in public places and on public transportation.

Violence against women and girls is a global phenomenon that has no respect for class, age, income, religion, culture or place of residence. Sexual violence, and the threat of such violence, haunts many adolescent girls as they go about their daily lives in the city, whether in school, on public transport, or in the street.

According to a survey conducted by Plan International Vietnam in June 2013, 31 per cent of 1,128 girls were sexually abused on bus and only 13 per cent of girls and 8 per cent of boys said that girls always feel safe in public. Meanwhile, 45 per cent of respondents in the survey said they did not do anything about harassment they witnessed in public and 20 per cent did not intervene when they saw the harassment on the bus.

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.

Tu Anh