Unveiled today by Plan International Australia in collaboration with CrowdSpot and Monash University, the map, called Free To Be, will be used to generate a clear picture of the reality of living in Sydney for women aged 18-25.
“There’s an assumption that Australian cities are safe and welcoming for girls and women,” Plan International Australia CEO Susanne Legena says. “When you have 90% of young women in Sydney telling us the city is unsafe for them at night and many of those opting out of going out altogether, it is clear this is certainly not the case.”
Plan International’s research also found that overwhelmingly, women feel unsafe on Sydney’s public transport at night (92 per cent), with half reporting personal experience of harassment on Sydney streets (49 per cent).
The Sydney map follows the Melbourne version, which launched in 2016.
“What surprised us about the Melbourne map was the scale and severity of incidents described by young women and just how common those were, whether it’s stalking, intimidation, being cat-called and even serious assaults,” Ms Legena says. “We expect we’ll see a similar result in Sydney.”
“We want to bring the issue into the light and send a message that, actually, it’s not okay, it should never be just tolerated as a part of the normal day to day female experience, and something has to be done to shift the culture that allows this behavior to thrive.”
The Sydney Free to Be map will remain open for entries until May 28, after which its data will be anaylsed by researchers from Monash University’s XYZ lab to provide insight into the safest and unsafest areas of Sydney.