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-Anoushka Manidhar

In the infamous day and age of the twentieth century, the world has become more accessible for its 7 billion citizens. While there is a noticeably significant increase in discussions on topics such as healthcare, safety, feminism, equality, etc, the loudest cry seems to emerge on the topic of women’s safety. Unlike the past when women were expected to fulfil their roles only within households, the “modern-day” woman is ready to conquer the world. From going on solo trips to foreign countries to travelling for business, women seem to be doing it all. Unfortunately, as women are rising on the global map as stronger and more independent than ever, the society still seems to not be able to look beyond their conventional roles. The ‘modest’ society, despite ‘sincere’ attempts, hasn’t been successful in erasing the perception that ladies are the vulnerable gender and hence, deserve to be attacked. All around the world, women have gathered expertise and knowledge in martial arts, self-defence and various other fight tactics, however, some people refuse to acknowledge them for anything but their gentle flowing hair, slender bodies and feminine features.

According to experts, the future of the world lies in the lap of urban centres and megacities. Currently, 54% of the global population resides in the urban areas and is expected to rise up to 66% by 2050. Around 31 cities in the world are presently accommodating a population of over 10 million people and the number is expected to rise up to 41 cities by the year 2040. As cities and global centres present people with more opportunities, raise employment and reduce poverty, meanwhile they also present their own set of troubles and agonies. The crime rate and lack of security only seem to be rising over the years in most megacities.

Thomas Reuters Organisation recently conducted the first poll of its kind to mark the most dangerous cities across the globe for women. They asked experts in the field about the various issues that women face, and which cities need to bring about significant changes to ensure safety for women alongside providing them with sufficient access to healthcare, finance and education.

More than 6,500 women were polled in 19 cities around the world, to assess the level of harassment, violence and intimidation that they face every day. Per city, 380 to 513 people were interviewed – both women, as well as experts, focused on women’s rights, gender equality, urban planning and gender-friendly urban spaces. And all respondents were women aged 18+ or above, living in the cities on which they were polled.

So, ladies here is a list of top 10 most dangerous cities in descending order that you may want to cross off your bucket list.

  1. Istanbul, Turkey

It is truly heart-wrenching to see Istanbul’s name on the list since this city is a top tourist destination and many aspire to be able to visit it one day. Istanbul was ranked as the 10th worst megacity for women and the sixth worst when it came to women at risk of sexual violence and harassment. Turkey’s largest city, with an estimated population of 14.4 million, has proved to be a rather big disappointment for many.

  1. Jakarta, Indonesia

Jakarta was ranked as the ninth worst megacity for women. The Indonesian capital, with an estimated population of 10.5 million, was named as fourth worst when it came to harmful cultural practices such as female genital mutilation and forced marriages. The city was however ranked as the seventh best for women to have access to economic resources such as education, land, and financial services such as bank accounts and loans.

  1. Lagos, Nigeria

Lagos has been ranked as the eighth worst megacity for women. Nigeria’s largest city with an estimated 13.7 million people was sixth worst when it came to harmful cultural practices such as female genital mutilation and forced marriages and seventh worst for women to have access to economic resources such as education, land, and financial services such as bank accounts and loans.

  1. Dhaka, Bangladesh

Dhaka was named as the seventh worst megacity for women. The Bangladeshi capital with an estimated 18 million people was ranked as fourth worst for women facing the risk of sexual violence and harassment and third most dangerous for women facing harmful cultural practices such as female genital mutilation and forced marriages.

  1. Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico City has been ranked as the sixth worst megacity for women from the list of cities. The Mexican capital, with a population of 21 million according to the United Nations, was fourth worst when it came to women facing sexual violence and harassment.

  1. Lima, Peru

Lima was voted as the worst megacity when it came to access for women to healthcare including control over reproductive health and maternal mortality. Overall the Peruvian capital, with a population of about 10 million, was ranked as the 5th riskiest city for women and 5thworst for women seeking access to economic resources such as education, land, and financial services such as bank accounts.

  1. Delhi, India

New Delhi, the world’s second most populous city with an estimated 26.5 million people, was ranked as the worst megacity for sexual violence and harassment of women alongside Brazil’s Sao Paulo.  The Indian capital, infamously referred to as the “rape capital” of India, was fourth worst of the cities in the overall poll and ranked as fourth worst when respondents were asked if women had access to economic resources such as education, land, and financial services such as bank accounts.

  1. Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

Kinshasa ranked as the second worst of the world’s megacities for women alongside Karachi. The Democratic Republic of Congo capital, with an estimated population of 12 million, was named as the worst city when it came to women having access to economic resources such as education, ownership of land, and financial services such as bank accounts and loans. It was the second worst on women having access to good healthcare including control over reproductive health and maternal mortality.

  1. Karachi, Pakistan

Karachi was ranked as the second most dangerous megacity for women overall, alongside Kinshasa. The most populous city in Pakistan with an estimated 17 million people, Karachi was ranked second worst when respondents were asked if women are at a risk of harmful cultural practices such as female genital mutilation and forced marriage. The city came third worst on two other questions – when respondents were asked if women had access to good healthcare and if women had access to economic resources such as education, land, and financial services.

  1. Cairo, Egypt

Cairo was ranked as the most dangerous megacity for women from a U.N. list of 19 cities. The Egyptian capital, with an estimated population in 2016 of 19 million, fared worst when it came to harmful cultural practices for women such as female genital mutilation and forced marriage and was named the third worst city when respondents were asked if women were at risk of sexual harassment and violence.

From the list of these 10 cities, it is conspicuously evident that the world needs to do a lot more for women than just make fake howls of inducing feminism. Why is it that all these cities, despite most of them being the capitals of their countries, are ranked so low in being able to provide safety to their women? When will the modern woman actually be able to step out free?

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