Connie Guberman


A feminist activist in Toronto, the author recounts her experience of managing the ‘women’s safety audits’ initiative for the Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women (METRAC), an organization established in 1984 in response to a large number of assaults on women in public places in the City with the founding mandate to be “a catalyst for change.” The ‘women’s safety audit’ – based on the fundamental belief that women are the experts of their own experience - was developed in 1989 by METRAC to address the problem of women’s unequal access to public space and their unequal participation in planning decisions that affected their sense of safety in their communities.

In this article the author discusses the impact of the safety audits both in terms of effective changes to personal safety and empowerment for women and highlights the need that these initiatives – that have been adapted to different contexts and groups of women – are developed as partnerships between the women who have local safety concerns and key stakeholders such as elected representatives, city officials or the police, who have the authority to implement recommended changes.


women's safety audits; Toronto; METRAC; personal safety; women's empowerment

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