Alicia Fortuin of the African Centre for Cities has conducted a study which has highlighted the important role parkrun can play in reclaiming public spaces for women.
Alicia’s study looked at the way that women in Mitchells Plain interacted with and viewed public open spaces with a view to informing policies and to create gender sensitive urban planning.
She found that women avoided “green spaces” in particular saying that they were “not safe” and there were “too many men” there. Women would rather be inside – at home or at the mall, where they feel safer – than be outside. Women want to go to the public open spaces, but feel that they cannot go alone, and that they cannot go on their own terms – “in terms of behaviour, what behaviour is acceptable, what is not, how to dress, not to draw too much attention to themselves”.
There are, however, activities which have helped women to reclaim the spaces and parkrun has been identified as an important element of this as it provides an opportunity for women to come to the Westridge Gardens park and be themselves.
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