Archive | mars, 2012

Meet Us On The Street! 2012 Edition

28 Mar

From March 18th to 24th, 2012, we celebrated the second edition of International Anti-Street Harassment week. This new phenomenon has been created to address the problem of “catcalls, sexist comments, public masturbation, groping, stalking, and assault: gender-based street harassment makes public places unfriendly and even scary for many girls, women, and LGBQT folks”. For more details about the history behind anti street harassment week, please visit the website http://www.meetusonthestreet.org.

As one of the (many!) co-sponsors of this great event, Women in Cities International partnered with radio CKUT and the 2110 Gender Advocacy Center, two Montreal based organizations also working on special programming for Women and Girls, to organize an introductory Women’s Safety Audit walk (WSA).

For our purpose, this WSA was meant to introduce participants to its methodology, while sensitizing them to women’s security and inclusion (or lack thereof) in public space. We did this by analyzing various factors of our urban environment and how they affect how each of us participates in city life. Such factors may include built infrastructure (lighting, sidewalk width, etc.) as well as user characteristics or behaviors, including women to men ratio and…. street harassment!

A group of seven women took part in the WSA, around the downtown Concordia Campus area, starting from the 2110 Gender advocacy center McKay office, walked along to Bishop street via an alley way, down to de Maisonneuve and back. Participants were probed to pay attention to lighting, maintenance, accessibility of sidewalks and buildings, the absence of greenery or parks, or just opportunities to linger. Perfectly in tone with the theme of out activity, a group of male students drinking on the Reggies pub terrace, overlooking the alley we were auditing, tried to get our attention in a not so subtle way… A group of girls walking through an alley appears to be cause for attention.

Reggies Pub

It also happens that Downtown Montreal is currently the stage for daily manifestations by disgruntled students calling on the government to cancel the planned hikes of education fees. On March 20th, students had blocked off part of de Maisonneuve with couches, were playing music, showcasing their message through banners and slogans. This new, albeit temporary use of the street, drew attention to how the re-appropriation of public space by citizens can be a powerful tool not only as a pressure tactic (as it was here), but as a way to make it safer and more inclusive, on the condition that the measures used attract a greater diversity of users.

As we ended our WSA, participants asked us if we could organize another such walk on a Saturday on Crescent street at 3:00 am, when folks leave the bars and clubs and the famed Montreal street can become a very uncomfortable place for many women. Reminding us once more how street harassment is a big problem, in every city, no matter how safe, and that we need to keep calling it out and denouncing it as unacceptable.

Attention, travaux en cours!

15 Mar

Oye, Oye, bientôt dans un parc/rue/ascenseur près de chez vous, il y aura des photos, il y aura des vidéos, une installation mobile!

Inutile de demander, nous ne vous en dirons pas plus! D’ailleurs, c’est déjà pas mal…

Voyez déjà si vous pouvez deviner ce que les filles de F.A.C.E vont réaliser à partir de leurs croquis et de leur guide de travail…

L’objectif de la création médiatique des filles sera de pouvoir « rentrer dans leur univers ». De s’imprégner de leur vision de Montréal, des questions qui les tracassent. Elles illustreront leurs craintes et leurs sources de joie, tout ce qui fait de leur ville un endroit où elles se sentent bien, ou pas.

Nous avons parlé écologie, nous avons parlé inclusion, nous avons parlé de craintes, nous avons parlé éclairage.

Ce qui est vraiment motivant c’est de voire comment les participantes se sont approprié le projet Bien dans ma ville!, et prennent les rênes côté créativité, en affirmant leur vision… On peut vraiment, maintenant, parler d’un projet mené par les jeunes!

Work in progress!

15 Mar

Attention everyone! Soon in a street/parc/elevator near you, there will be photos, there will be videos, it will move, it will sing. Ok no, it won’t sing! although…

It’s no use asking, we won’t give it away! First see if you can guess what the F.A.C.E girls have planned based on their sketches and their activity guides…

 

The point of the girls’ media work will be to  «enter their universe ». To immerse oneself in their vision of Montreal, to let them voice their concerns. They’ll illustrate their fears, what makes them happy, what makes Montreal a place they feel comfortable in, or not.

We talked about the environment, about inclusion, about fears, about lighting.

What is really motivating at this point is to see how participants have really taken ownership of My City, My Safety!, and are taking charge in terms of creativity and putting forth their vision… Now, we can really speak of a project led by youth.

Inspirational clip to start the day

15 Mar

Hurrah for youth and their enthusiasm for change, their courage, and in the hopes that such messages be heard and taken seriously…

Un peu d’inspiration pour bien commencer la journée…

15 Mar

Vive les jeunes, leur courage, leur optimisme, et leur volonté de changement!

 

Happy International Women’s Day!

8 Mar

 

Here is an inspiring video for young girls!

Bonne Journée Internationale de la femme!

8 Mar

 

Voici un vidéo pour inspirer les jeunes filles!