5 Projects Making Public Spaces Safer For Women

It is a known fact that women face several challenges while travelling alone, or even in a group. However, there are several projects run by women that are generating awareness and trying to make urban spaces safer
Several projects and campaigns are trying to improve the safety situation for women by using innovative methods
Several projects and campaigns are trying to improve the safety situation for women by using innovative methods

Violence against women is on the rise in India. The National Commission for Women reported 23,722 reports of crimes against women in 2020, the most in the previous six years. Studies have found that in urban India, many women avoid going out alone. This means that streets, parks, marketplaces, public transportation, and other public areas lack equitable representation for women. However, there are several projects and campaigns that are changing the status quo by using innovative methods like street art, design, and even apps. Here are five that you will find interesting, and may even become a part of in order to make a difference.     

Blank Noise

The primary goal of this community public art project is to address street harassment in India. It was started as a student project at Srishti School of Art, Design, and Technology in Bangalore by design graduate Jasmeen Patheja. It has since expanded to other cities in India. What is interesting is that volunteers run the projects, creating and distributing testimonials of street harassment and abuse. Through direct street action and public interventions, the programmes target women's fear-based relationships with their cities.

More about their projects here.

Why Loiter

Their aim is to reclaim public spaces, making them safe and interactive environments. And they are doing it in many different ways, like organising antakshari sessions on Mumbai's metro rail. The movement has been inspired by the 2011 book "Why Loiter" by Shilpa Phadke, Sameera Khan, and Shilpa Ranade. The book has also partnered with other similar movements. For instance, the Pakistan-based Girls at Dhabas. The campaign in Pakistan had women sitting in dhabas, drinking chai, reading a book, and simply being out in public as an act of emancipation. Women from all around Pakistan were sharing images of themselves at tea shops and other public areas engaged in traditionally male activities such as riding motorcycles, cycling, playing cricket, or driving rickshaws. The plan was for women to retake these streets and spaces.  

Read more about the campaign here.

Follow them on Twitter here.

Take Back The Night

Take Back the Night (TBTN) organises events aimed at making city spaces safer for women, who often face violence, ridicule, and harassment in public spaces. TBTN gatherings are one of the citizen-centric campaigns that have emerged in response to the increasing incidents of violence against women. Though largely a global campaign, they have held several campaigns in Kolkata. At one such event, women of all ages took over one of the busiest junctions in the city until midnight. Their slogan, written with white chalk on the road, was "Shohor Aamar, Raat Aamar" ("The city is mine the night is mine"). Over several decades, TBTN events have charted a collective journey through marches, rallies, protests, speak-outs, and initiatives towards ending violence against women and making spaces safer.

More about the movement here.


A data-driven technology platform, Safetipin aims to make public areas safer and more inclusive for women and other marginalised groups. The map-based mobile and desktop app seeks to make communities and cities safer by delivering safety-related data gathered from users and qualified auditors. Their Women's Safety Audit is a participatory instrument used for collecting and analysing information regarding perceptions of urban safety in a place, and this is at the heart of the app. The audit is based on nine parameters lighting, openness, visibility, crowd, security, walk path, public transportation availability, gender diversity, and the feeling you get when you are in a city/public place. 

More about them here.

Fearless Collective

Founded by artist Shilo Shiv Suleman, Fearless Collective is committed to making public spaces more inclusive, beautiful, and joyful through the medium of art campaigns in public spaces. "I&rsquove always said it&rsquos high time that women go out on the streets, reclaim their public space, and represent their own stories, fearlessly," she says. In December 2020, Fearless Collective did a three-city tour of Lucknow, Delhi, and Jaipur. Outlook Traveller had caught up with Shilo Shiv Suleman to learn about her initiative, art, travel experiences, and much more. Check out the interview here.

Related Stories

No stories found.
Outlook Traveller