Women’s empowerment in the public space: share your best experience!

By Chris Blache and Pascale Lapalud, co-founders of Genre et Ville

You participated in actions, or practiced public space in an interesting way. You’ve witnessed a stimulating idea, an installation, infrastructure, layout, enabling women to reclaim public space.

Share it with us, so we can publicize it and help spread good practices.

Who are we?

Genre et Ville – Gender and the City – is a European non-profit organization, based in France, whose goal is to transform the way cities are planned and lived towards more gender equality.

We feel there are plenty of local initiatives that can lead to more hospitable cities and neighborhoods. As described by Indian researchers Shilpa Phadke, Sameera Khan and Shilpa Ranade, in their essai, “Why Loiter – Women and Risk on Mumbai Streets”, we want women to gain equal access to the streets, parks and public facilities, not only to perform a task, in the outdated female roles we are accustomed to – parenting – shopping – caring, but also to play, be idle, loiter, have fun, at all times of day or night, without being judged or harassed.

We already know that by designing public space differently, taking atmospheres, diversity, complexity into account, cities can become more user-friendly for women. The city of Vienna, which has been working on gender mainstreaming for the past twenty years, has already quite a few examples to share on gender-sensitive park design and playgrounds, gender-sensitive transport planning, housing, public purpose buildings, urban development.

At this point, Vienna is one of the very few cities which actions can be looked back on, on a large scale. For most cities, actions have often been undertaken but not necessarily sustained or developed.

In order to create a dynamic that encourages cities all over the world to integrate such actions, it is key to share, compile and publicize initiatives.

How to proceed

You can send us pictures, stories, maps, anything that will illustrate the action or experiment you want to share with us.

Once we have collected enough testimonies, we will publish them on an international extension of our website and hopefully, if we can finance it, start a tour of good practices.

Some illustrations of good practices for a fair shared city

Women dancing in the center of Paris
Women dancing in the center of Paris

 

Lounge Chairs in front of Paris’ City Hall
Lounge Chairs in front of Paris’ City Hall

 

Creating your own furniture/garden on the streets – Paris 2016
Creating your own furniture/garden on the streets – Paris 2016

 

Combine activities, more leisure, less cars – Copenhagen 2016
Combine activities, more leisure, less cars – Copenhagen 2016

 

Be creative with street signs
Be creative with street signs
mulhouse
Creating a playful atmosphere through creative lighting – Mulhouse, France 2015

Pascale Lapalud is an urban planner, designer and a geographer. Chris Blache is an eclectic socio-ethnographer. Both feminists and lgbt activists, in 2012, they created Genre et Ville (Gender and the City), a think and do tank on gender and urban planning issues.