Women’s Safety Charter to ensure safe city for everyone
Source: The Daily Telegraph
Author: Jessica McSweeney
Date: 6 March 2020
Businesses will be asked to find new initiatives to make women feel safer and have been told to include the issue of female safety in all aspects of planning and development under a plan launched today by the Greater Sydney Commission.
Lucy Turnbull will lead the push, saying the Charter will improve the lives of women and boost Sydney’s economy.
“We live in one of the world’s greatest cities. But for some of us — particularly women — concerns about safety can hold us back from being full, active participants,” Mrs Turnbull said.
“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 said. “We want better for Greater Sydney.”
As part of the plan, the NSW government is calling on start-ups and businesses to pitch ideas to use technology and data to make women safer in the city.
“We already have many measures in place to improve the safety of our customers but there’s more work to do,” Transport for NSW Greater Sydney deputy secretary Elizabeth Mildwater said.
“It’s disturbing to hear that women change their travelling habits to avoid certain areas and we are committed to improving safety on our network for women and girls,” Ms Mildwater said.
Transport for NSW is among a group of significant Sydney businesses and organisations that have already jumped on board as signatories, including the Sydney Business Chamber, Ivy and Establishment owner Merivale, UTS, Wollondilly Shire Council and ride share app Shebah.
The Charter will be a great way to stimulate the night time economy, said Sydney Business Chamber executive director Katherine O’Regan.
“If you have a safe and thriving night time economy, not only is it good for women it’s good for business,” Ms O’Regan said.
“If we can create an environment where women and children — whether it’s walking in the parking, going to a bookshop or grabbing a coffee — can go out at any period of the day, we can get more foot traffic and boost business,” she said.
“There are women who have to turn down shifts because they fear they can’t get home safely at night … walking to the train station should be safe, there should be lights and footpaths for example.”
As part of their support of the Charter, the Sydney Business Chamber has committed to achieving gender equality at all their events, including making sure there are women on speaking panels.