According to findings by the Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF), Lagos ranks 8th out of 19 most dangerous megacities for women in the world, ahead of Jakarta and Istanbul in the 9th and 10th position respectively. The finding is the first international poll on women’s welfare in huge cities with a population of over 10 million people.
“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,” the poll reads.
Conducted in 19 megacities, the TRF asked 380 experts on women’s issues which of the world’s megacities are safe for women, and which need to do more to protect and create a safe space for women to ensure that they are not at risk of sexual violence and harmful cultural practices and that they have access to healthcare, finance and education.
The poll, which covered four key areas; sexual violence, access to healthcare, harmful cultural practices and economic activities, ranks Cairo, Egypt as the most dangerous megacity for women and London as the friendliest. Experts in Egypt say the treatment of women in the Egyptian capital has worsened since the 2011 uprising and that economic opportunities for women have been eroded by a weakened economy.
In Kinshasa, experts say there is a poor financial inclusion of women. Most women work in small, informal businesses or agriculture, sectors often cut off from banking, and many live in rural areas without roads and electricity making it hard to travel to banks. The city also holds poor statistics for girl child education with only six in 10 girls completing primary school often due to forced marriage, child labour and poverty.
On the flipside, London ranks the world’s most female-friendly megacity, followed by Tokyo, then Paris. The UK capital scored high points when respondents were asked if women had good access to healthcare and if women had access to economic resources such as education, land, and financial services. However, Mayor Sadiq Khan highlighted the city’s significant gender pay gap and the low number of female role models at the highest levels of public life.