Around 56% women in the capital city are unwilling to go outside their respective homes for lack of good transport system, while 43.5% say they limit their free movement due to the absence of adequate facilities for them, says a new study.
The study titled “Gender Responsive City Structure” says underpass and overpass or foot-over bridges should be featured with adequate lights and CCTVs. “Unsafe routes should be discouraged and clearly signaling alternative routes.”
ActionAid Bangladesh, in association with UK Aid, conducted the study.
Dr Akter Mahmud presented the report at ActionAid Bangladesh’s conference room on Saturday, marking the Global Safe Cities Day 2017.
ActionAid Bangladesh Country Director Farah Kabir also spoke on its various aspects.
The study says women’s multiple roles and responsibilities at home and workplace lead more diverse interactions with the city’s built ecology and their journeys are typically more varied and complex than men’s.
Some 22.5% respondents mentioned about harassment by co-passengers, drivers, helpers and others, while 42% mentioned about lack of cooperation by auto drivers.
Among the respondents, 71.5% said sidewalks and footpaths are occupied by construction materials, hawkers and shops.
Some 46% respondents mentioned about the absence of road crossing facilities like; zebra crossing, foot-over bridge or underpass at roads and junctions.
It was found that more than 90% public toilets run by the city corporations are not viable due to the factors like insecurity issues 96%, lack of facilities 54%, unhygienic and dirty environment 91.5%.
Respondents mentioned about the inadequacy of park and open spaces while 19% expressed annoyance for anti-social activities (drug and smuggling) which results 42% women feeling the lack of security in park and open spaces.
Most urban planners and decision-makers are men and hence cities are not designed with women’s needs in their mind, leaving women and girls impacted by poorly planned urban spaces, infrastructures and services, the study says.
It says city structure causes constant and multiple threats to women’s freedom and dignity in cities and reduces their contribution to the national economy.
The study focused on reducing crimes with urban design and good maintenance of property, and said public spaces should be well lit, especially car parks, building entrances or access paths to public transport stops and stations.
It said sharp corners, walls, pillars, fences, and mature landscape and other blind spots can make people feel unsafe. “Designing with visibility in mind should anticipate these and other possible obstacles.”
The study suggested that the planning and development of playground should be on ward basis for male and female and playground of girl’s school or college should be considered to be open for all female users.
It also suggested that playgrounds of schools and colleges should be accessible to community people beyond the school hours. “School can go for minimum charge for its maintenance.”
List of playgrounds and their maps should be placed at various points of the ward with the citizen charter to establish the right of the people. “It’ll reduce the tendency of illegal occupation of playgrounds and their inappropriate use other than sports.”
The study says the number of public toilets should be increased with fair distribution and these should be in a visible and well accessible place.