Chief Commissioner, Lucy Turnbull AO, has unveiled the Charter to mark International Women’s Day and urged businesses, government, peak industry groups and not-for-profit organisations to “get on board”.
Ms Turnbull said “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. This brings wider social, cultural and productivity benefits.
“I’ve long said that a city that works for women, works for everyone. The Women’s Safety Charter is designed to help participants promote, plan for, design and operate places where women of all ages feel safer,” she said.
“The Charter’s three foundation principles and nine key outcomes were developed in consultation with more than 80 organisations across Greater Sydney including local councils, state agencies, not-for-profit groups and businesses. The principles and outcomes are intended to influence policies, practices, and service planning and delivery by Charter participants.
“The Charter builds upon work by our Youth Panel and research by the Committee for Sydney and not-for-profit group Plan International Australia into the extent of young women feeling unsafe on the streets of Sydney at night and the economic impact this has. Women and girls who are harassed or frightened will often quit jobs, leave university courses, and often just stop going out at night. We want better for Greater Sydney,” Ms Turnbull said.
Committee for Sydney CEO Gabriel Metcalf acknowledged that improved safety and inclusivity are critical to Greater Sydney’s growth and success.
“At the Committee for Sydney, we believe that we have a responsibility to ensure Greater Sydney is a safe and inclusive city for everyone, regardless of gender.”
“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. Achieving gender equality is a key factor in making a good city great,” Mr Metcalf said.
Transport for NSW is further supporting the Charter by launching their new Innovation Challenge – Safety After Dark.
Deputy Secretary, Greater Sydney Elizabeth Mildwater said “As part of our commitment to the Charter, we are also announcing that start-ups and other businesses can now apply to partner with Transport for NSW’s Digital Accelerator and pitch ways technology and data can make women feel safer on public transport at night.
“Over the past few months we have met youth advocates, young women, start-ups, safety experts and our partners to create a defined problem statement to take into the challenge.
“We already have many measures in place to improve the safety of our customers but there’s more work to do. 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.
Foundation signatories to the Charter include:
- Transport for NSW
- Sydney Business Chamber
- News Corp
- Merivale Group
- NSW Disability Council
- Plan International Australia
- University of Technology Sydney (UTS)
- International Convention Centre (ICC) Sydney
- Community Housing Industry Association
- Wollondilly Shire Council
- Infrastructure and Urban Planning firms: Arup, Mecone, Urbis, KJA, Aecom
To learn more about Transport for NSW’s Innovation Challenge and how to apply, head here.
To learn more about the Women’s Safety Charter or to become a participant, head here.
The Women’s Safety Charter builds on research by Plan International (Free to Be, 2018) on how safe girls feel as they move around cities, the Women’s Night Safety Charter operating in London, and the Committee for Sydney’s work on the social and economic impact of girls and women not feeling safe in the city (Safety After Dark, 2019).