Awareness is necessary – against fear in public places – culture

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Whistles, jokes, and sexual harassment in public are part of the daily lives of many women. The initiatives are campaigning to ensure that not only do women have to accept this – and also educate men in the process.

“My roommate recently told me that when he cannot sleep at night, he goes for a walk along the banks of the Rhine – and then sleeps like a baby. I could never imagine going for a walk outside the house alone in the middle of the night.”

This statement comes from a young woman working on the project «room for everyone“She recorded her thoughts on the road with her smartphone. This and other audio recordings made by women show how different it is to look at public places based on gender.

Exit the default mode

Standing behind the project is Annick Sen and Larissa Bucher. Both were subjected to harassment and border crossings in public. Problem: Such actions are not punishable by law.

“I can speak for the majority of women and people who read to women that since puberty they face whistles and pickup lines, with cross-border procedures when going out. Society just accepts it, it’s normal,” says Annick Sen.

Their campaign aims to raise awareness against this supposed normality. The two young women are not the only ones who have recently wanted to draw attention to the issue of equality in the public space.

Promote moral courage

Online reporting tools have recently been introduced in French-speaking Switzerland and Zurich, where victims or witnesses can anonymously record such border crossings. This alone helps those already affected, says Martha Weingartner of the Office for Equal Opportunity in Zurich.

The “Zürich Blick hin” project is also about strengthening people’s civic courage. “Don’t look the other way, get active,” Weingartner says. To this end, one is in close contact with many of the Alliance’s partners: for example with Open Youth Action, clubs and bars, but also with schools and LGBTQ organizations.

Gender sensitive urban planning

In addition to awareness campaigns, there is also a concrete action that can increase everyone’s sense of security in public spaces: gender-sensitive urban planning.

Stephanie Togner is the co-chair of the Lares Society. He is committed to ensuring equal access to public spaces for all. For example, Lares advised on the construction of the Pfingstweidpark in Zurich.

Lares Club


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Lares A network committed to cultural change in planning and building so that the needs of all users are taken into account.

With his range of advice, Lares supports building and nurture projects in planning and building in a manner appropriate to both genders and everyday life.

“Orientation is an important criterion for a high sense of safety – the circular path around the park ensures that. Adequate lighting is very important and a clear view of all corners of the area,” says Togener.

A long way to achieving equality in public space

Gender Sensitive Urban Planning, Prevention and Awareness: A set of measures at the individual, community and structural level is necessary so that public space can be used by all groups of society with the same self-image.

Annick Senn of Raum für alle came to a positive conclusion after the first year since the project began: “A lot of men told me they were aware of the problem, but not that much. When they listened to the audio recordings on our site, they realized what it really means to be a woman. Young woman in public space.

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