“She walks alone through the city – A safer Kragujevac for all” is a joint venture of Mikser Organization in cooperation with the United Nations Agency for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women in Serbia – UNW, with the support of the British Embassy and the partnership of five civil society organizations that will work to improve awareness about the security challenges faced by women and girls in our cities.
To recognize and map all the challenges faced by women and girls in our cities, as well as all other sensitive social groups, the team created a detailed survey, the results of which will help experts and decision-makers in the future directions of planning and management of public urban areas.
The results of the survey will show all the unsafe, nerve-wracking points of Kragujevac and enable a change in the mechanism of how women managed to safely reach a certain point by performing only ordinary, everyday tasks (choosing a different way, by simulating a telephone conversation, pepper spray, or completely giving up going somewhere because they do not have an escort to return home).
The newly acquired knowledge will help to influence city planners and decision-makers to think differently about shared, public spaces, by thinking together about how they can make those spaces that are equally intended for everyone equally accessible to everyone.
Also, an important aspect of this initiative that includes the survey is raising awareness about the tolerance of violence against women, which does not have to be only physical, but represents all those situations when there is justification and rationalization of any violent behavior, be it verbal, through discrimination or direct physical attack.
Research by the Women’s Architectural Society shows that in Serbia, 80.4% of women perform additional family responsibilities and take care of older family members/children/go shopping… which is 26.2% more than men do. In rural areas, as well as on the outskirts of cities, this situation is further complicated by an even greater reliance on public transport, prolonged stay in public areas, as well as travel in the evening and night hours. This clearly shows that women use city infrastructure significantly more, which is why it is important that they feel safe everywhere and always.
This is why insight, and a sense of security are extremely important, primarily for women and members of sensitive social groups, but also for all citizens who live, work, study in Kragujevac or often stay in this city due to business or family ties.
The experiences of the women of Kragujevac, as well as the set of measures and recommendations as a result of the survey and a series of workshops that will be conducted in this city, will serve as a model and encouragement for other cities in Serbia to respond to the security challenges of their citizens similarly, knowing that girls and women in other urban areas are also facing the same problems.