p(dropcap. I was honoured to be invited as a delegate to the Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces Global Leaders’ Forum, a UN Women global flagship initiative, which was held at the Shaw Conference Centre from October 16-19. This was the fourth such forum, and the first time it was held in a Canadian city.
The forum focused on the safety of women and girls in public spaces. People from around the world discussed initiatives in their cities to keep women and girls safe from violence in public places. Some of the specific topics included safety policies and programs, youth activism, and engaging men in the prevention of violence. There was an entire day dedicated to issues surrounding the safety of women on public transportation.
We came from different places and sometimes had to speak through translators, but all of us were there for the same reason: to exchange information in the process of working towards a safer world for women and girls. A moment that really stood out for me was when two boys in their early teens from Mozambique spoke about being peer leaders in trying to protect the girls in their schools and communities.
It made me think about how, no matter where we come from, we all have common issues with which we struggle in our lives and in society, and how we need to look out for each other. This is a key step in building a safer world for women, and all of us.