Global leaders discuss how to prevent sexual violence in public spaces
October 16, 2018

The City of Edmonton and United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) are co-hosting the fourth Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces Global Leaders Forum at the Shaw Conference Centre from October 16 - 19. More than 250 leaders and experts from over 25 countries will meet to discuss how to make public spaces safer for women and girls.

Delegates will share tools and strategies to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and other forms of sexual violence against women and girls. Sexual harassment, which is a gender-based discrimination, human rights violation, can include unwanted sexual remarks, groping, stalking or physical contact. It is a daily occurrence for women and girls on streets, buses and other public places in cities around the world.

“We are unwavering in our commitment to ending sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence in Edmonton. Leading a Safe City program with women and girls in Edmonton and hosting the global forum is about creating lasting change in our cities, in our communities and in the lives of women and girls,” said Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson.

Forum sessions will focus on topics such as:
  • How gender inequality in cities intersects with other forms of inequalities, such as race, disability, sexual orientation and age to shape sexual harassment
  • How city and public transportation design can make urban and rural spaces safe for all women and girls
  • Changing attitudes and behaviours to promote women and girls’ safety during the day and after dark
  • The role of women and men and boys in preventing sexual violence. 

“Having safe access to public streets, parks, trains and buses is essential for women to travel to work and school, and to be able to exercise autonomy and freedom in all areas of their lives. The ideas and experiences that will be shared by the women, men and youth Safe City champions in Edmonton will be key to ensuring our cities and public spaces are places of safety, equality and sustainability for all,” said Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

The opening plenary for the forum will be livestreamed this morning in English and in French from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at

Edmonton was the second Canadian city to become a member of the UN Women Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces Global Initiative and the first city in the global north to host this forum. The forum is part of the City’s efforts to end gender-based violence and sexual assault in Edmonton.

The Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, the Republic of Korea, the Government of Alberta, Status of Women and the Government of Canada, Status of Women have all provided support to the forum.
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