Delhi has joined four other cities across the developing world in a UN initiative rolled out on Monday aimed at formulating strategies and indigenous models for making urban areas safer for women.
Launched in Cairo, Kigali, Quito, Port Moresby, along with Delhi simultaneously, the safe cities programme of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) will specially focus on issues of slums and poor urban dwellers, besides sexual harassment in public places, a problem which a UN official said has been "neglected".
Under the cross-regional programme, each city will contribute to developing its own model to achieve the purpose of making cities safer.
This, of course, will be done with the involvement of a number of stakeholders, including relevant local authorities and civil society which reaches out to the grassroot levels.
These models and strategies can then be replicated across major cities of the world, said Anne F Stenhammer, regional programme director, UNIFEM, South Asia.
"Based on available country data, 15 to 76% of women in the world experience physical, sexual violence at some point in their lifetime. Yet... sexual harassment in public spaces remains a neglected issue, accepted as a normal part of women's lot and life in the city," Ines Alberdi, executive director of UNIFEM told a press conference here.
She said solutions for issues of women can be effectively devised only when women are part of the decision making process.
In choosing the five cities, the major factor was willingness of the governments in lending support to the programme and potential for strong partnerships with civil society organisations.
Rajiv Kale, director, Delhi government's department of women and child development, said the women of the capital do feel insecure while using public spaces and crowded public transports, and the problem also needs a long term change in the mindset.