Madrid joins UN Women Safe Cities Global Programme

Date: Thursday, April 26, 2018

The City of Madrid, in Spain, is joining UN Women’s “Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces Global Programme Initiative”, which aims to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls in public spaces, including public transport. With Madrid, 28 cities around the world, from Kigali to New Delhi, are already participating in the programme, of which Spain is the major donor.

The Mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena, and the Delegate for Gender Equality and Diversity policies, Celia Mayer, will host an event on 27 April in the City Hall in to mark this new collaboration. They will be joined by UN Women’s Director of Programmes, Maria Noel Vaeza.

“The tragedy of lives lost hits us almost every day. Words become meaningless because, although society begins to be more conscious about gender-based violence, the numbers are still there. These are not empty numbers, behind each one of them there is the face of a woman,” said the Madrid Mayor.

 “Gender-based violence represents a social emergency that deserves to be tackled with all available resources, tools and research. This is only possible through cooperation. That is why I am glad that Madrid is joining this initiative, together with nearly 30 cities that are going to compare their experiences and get support from such a well-recognized institution as UN Women to make Madrid a safer city for women and girls,” she added.

"Women have the right to feel safe in public spaces without fear of being sexually harassed or assaulted. Yet, this is not the reality nowadays, with various types of sexual violence in public spaces, from unwanted sexual remarks and touching to rape and femicide, happening too often. We are glad to welcome Madrid as part of the Safe Cities Global Programme, leading the way to create safer public spaces for women and girls,” said Maria Noel.

Envisaged as a long-term partnership, and in line with the city’s Strategic Plan for Gender Equality 2018-2020, Madrid’s initial contribution of USD 50,000 will help UN Women provide technical advice in the development of a number of concrete actions in the city. These include conducting a scoping study to understand the nature of sexual harassment in public spaces in the city, such as where, when and how it occurs, and specific groups of women targeted. The data gathered will be used to inform future interventions and policies to end sexual harassment Madrid, and globally.

Other activities that will be carried out include the promotion of gender-equal social norms and respectful gender relationships through educational activities in schools, communities and other settings in the city, as well as strengthening of the local authorities’ capacities to respond and help survivors of violence in the city, including extending its services to survivors of sexual violence.