Making public transport safer for women

Startups and businesses are being invited to participate in a Safety After Dark innovation challenge using technology to make women feel safer on public transport.

Lucy Turnbull

The challenge, led  by the Transport Digital Accelerator, is supported by a Women’s Safety Charter launched by the Greater Sydney Commission this month. It asks industry to come up with data-based safety solutions to make travelling at night safer for women.

The Women’s Safety Charter , launched in collaboration with Transport for NSW and the Committee for Sydney, was unveiled by Chief Commissioner Lucy Turnbull on Friday to mark International Women’s Day.

“Although Greater Sydney is one of the safest cities in the world, more needs to be done to ensure everyone feels safe, confident and included so they can fully participate in city life,” Ms Turnbull said in a statement.

“This brings wider social, cultural and productivity benefits. I’ve long said that a city that works for women, works for everyone.”

The Charter has three foundation principles and nine outcomes, and was developed in consultation with more than 80 organisations across Greater Sydney.

The purpose of the Charter is to influence participating organisations to ensure that women and girls feel safer and more confident participating in Sydney’s social, economic and cultural life.

The first foundation principle is a call for a culture of gender equity, where women are included in the design and decision-making process. An individual or team should be elected to take responsibility for ensuring women’s safety.

The second foundation principle is a commitment to listen, share and reflect, which the Charter said are key to influencing effective and enduring change.

Best practices around safety solutions should be discussed and shared, policies and principles on women’s safety need to be communicated clearly, and women should receive support for reporting safety incidents, with a clear process for getting help if needed.

The third foundation principle is a commitment to collective action and continuous improvement, which can be done through tracking and evaluating the effectiveness of initiatives that are implemented in an organisation.

Safety concerns holding women back

Gabriel Metcalf

In an opinion piece in The Daily Telegraph, Ms Turnbull said concerns about safety can hold women back from being “full, active participants” in society.

“The Committee for Sydney’s research found women and girls who are harassed or frightened will often quit jobs, leave university courses, and often just stop going out at night in the city altogether,” she wrote.

A number of initiatives will be developed to support the Charter, including the Safety After Dark challenge.

Committee for Sydney CEO Gabriel Metcalf said that achieving gender equality is a key factor in making a good city great.

“Greater Sydney can’t flourish as one of the greatest cities in the world if women avoid walking on streets or catching buses and trains out of fear for personal safety,” he said in a statement.

Foundation signatories to the Charter include:

  • Transport for NSW
  • Committee for Sydney
  • Sydney Business Chamber
  • News Corp
  • Merivale Group
  • NSW Disability Council
  • Plan International Australia
  • University of Technology Sydney (UTS) & UNSW
  • International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney
  • Business Events Sydney
  • Community Housing Industry Association
  • Western City & Aerotropolis Authority
  • Wollondilly Shire Council
  • Infrastructure, development and urban planning firms: Arup, Mecone, Urbis, KJA, AECOM & PAYCE
  • oOh!media
  • Hoyne

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