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Women and the City III

This report reflects the experiences of over 3,000 women and girls living in urban communities in Brazil, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Liberia, Nepal, South Africa and Zimbabwe. While the women and girls interviewed in this baseline study shared their views that cities can be places of choice and empowerment for them, they also spoke of the multiple challenges they face in enjoying their rights and freely making choices about their daily lives. Freedom of movement and expression within these urban spaces is severely limited by harassment,violence, fear of violence, lack of adequate and gender-responsive public services and stereotypical, negative perceptions about women and their place in society. ActionAid works with some of the poorest women in city communities worldwide, including migrant workers and those living in slums. These women struggle to make a living in the informal labour market, fighting against forces that subjugate them socially and economically. Mobility means survival for many of these women and girls – many of whom walk miles in the morning and evening or use public transport to travel to and from work or school. Yet in going about their daily lives they are confronted by situations of sexual harassment, assault and violence that trigger feelings of shame, fear and distress.