A thousand and more beautifully lit sky lanterns fill the sky of the Quezon City Memorial Circle on the eve of International Women’s Day as supporters of women’s safety in the streets gather to let their voice be heard. This marks the kick off of the UN Safe Cities Global Initiative campaign of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and the Quezon City Government. Everyone aims to raise national awareness on the issue of street harassment and sexual violence against women and girls in public spaces.
According to Katherine Belen, Programme Head for UN Women Safe Cities, street harassment and sexual violence are not a trivial annoyance but may bring about immense effect on women. Some considered as sexual harassment are: persistent telling of offensive jokes; taunting a person with constant talk about sex; displaying offensive pictures; interrogating someone about sexual activities or private life; making offensive hand or body gestures at someone; stalking or repeatedly asking for the phone number or for dates despite verbal rejection; and touching, pinching or brushing up against someone’s body unnecessarily or deliberately.
UN Women partners with the Quezon City government as its pilot city of the Safe Cities Global Initiative. One advantage of this partnership gives women the protection and reassurance to roam around the city. Sexual harassment violators are seen to pay a fine of P5,000 for every offense. New public outdoor communication materials are also scheduled to be posted all around the city to increase public awareness. These advertising posters together with two short video clips are about to grace the television and some movie theaters. All these campaign materials will feature UN Women Safe Cities celebrity supporter Glaiza De Castro.
For more information about UN Women and its activities, log on to www.unwomen.org.
The International Women’s Day is commemorated globally every 8th of March.
About UN Women
UN Women is the UN entity dedicted to gender quality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.