IANGEL recently submitted a report to the UN Special Rapporteur on cultural rights, Ms. Karima Bennoune, in response to the call for submissions for the upcoming report on cultural rights and public spaces. Women, Cultural Rights, and Public Spaces: Analysis and Recommendations to Advance Women’s Human Rights, focuses primarily on how women access and enjoy their cultural rights through public spaces, and what issues relating to public space impact those rights.
The report makes clear that women can access and enjoy their cultural rights in positive and meaningful ways when they have equal access to public spaces, when they feel safe in public space, when they are included in the design and planning of public spaces, and when they are encouraged to use that space specifically for cultural purposes.
IANGEL’s report highlights the importance of public space and a notable lack of a right to public space in most human rights’ legal texts. The report also details the links between women’s rights, public space and cultural rights. It examines key issues, including equal access to public spaces, safety in public spaces, urban design and regulation, empowerment through public spaces, how economics affects human rights, and how women’s multiple identities impact the use of public space. The report also discusses trends such as the privatization of public spaces and gender-segregated spaces and their effects on women’s cultural rights.
The report identifies several key policies that actors, including governments, can implement to address women’s access to their cultural rights through public spaces. These policies include: promoting equality initiatives; working with legislators and local governments to prioritize public space in planning, equality and access; collecting data to inform how and why women use public spaces and to close the gender data gap; increasing the safety of women in public spaces; engaging women in the planning and development stages of public spaces; and providing women opportunities to use and access public space.
The topic of women, cultural rights and public spaces is especially timely as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals highlight universal access to public spaces for women as a key indicator of sustainable development in SDG 11.7. Women’s use of public space can also be used as a measure of progress toward other Sustainable Development Goals, such as SDG 5 Gender Equality, SDG 9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure, and SDG 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.
Whether women use public space for relaxing, creating art, connecting with families, earning income, or participating in civic life through protest or community engagement, cultural rights can be advanced through the enjoyment of public spaces by women. IANGEL is extremely proud to contribute to this project through the submission of our report.
See the full report, here.