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Creating safer spaces for young women in greater Cairo slums

In Egypt, as in many countries in the Middle East and North Africa, young women are exposed to several types of gender-based violence. A 2014 survey of young people in Egypt showed that almost 40% of women (aged 13-35) were subjected to some form of verbal or physical sexual harassment on the streets and on public transportation in Egypt. The difference in occurrence in slum areas (61.6%) versus urban formal areas (47.7%) and rural parts (32.6%) of the country is also staggering. Sexual harassment, sexual violence, or fear of exposure to such forms of gender-based violence have multidimensional impacts on women and girls whether physical, sexual, or mental, including restrictions on their mobility within public spaces.

This project will investigate the drivers of, and change in exposure to, sexual violence by young women in public places, and explore attitudes towards different forms of gender-based violence among youth. Uniquely focusing on the slums of greater Cairo, the aim is to understand the current responses of women when being subjected to such incidents and how it affects their major life transitions to adulthood, including access to education and participation in the labour force. Building on the success of an ongoing IDRC-funded project, Harassmap, this project will further document coping strategies that women use to resist sexual violence and how community resources can be used to empower women to overcome such violence. The research will employ quantitative and qualitative methods as well as a mapping exercise, which helps visualize safe and unsafe spaces in communities for different gender and age groups.

Proposed interventions based on research findings and engagement with relevant stakeholders will be designed with a focus on creating safer and more inclusive spaces for young women, promoting their resilience and empowering all community members to fight sexual violence. All project activities will be geared toward engaging policymakers and youth stakeholders throughout the project at the local community level and nationally.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
36 months
IDRC Officer
Martha Mutisi
Total Funding
CA$ 502,000.00
Democratic and Inclusive Governance
Governance and Justice
Institution Country
United States
Project Leader
Nahla Tawab
Population Council