In the heavily migrant-populated Stockholm no-go suburb of Husby, women feel unsafe. The Swedish government has determined to tackle the issue with “feminist urban planning”.
The notorious Stockholm no-go suburb of Husby is becoming increasingly more dangerous for women, according to Järva for Swedish Homes coordinator Nurcan Gültekin.
“Women do not dare to wear skirts. They feel that they have eyes on them and have felt discomfort on the subway. It’s a male-dominated place,” said Gültekin who is participating in a new feminist initiative to make the areas safer for women, Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.
Esme Güler, a resident of Husby, said the men act like they own the city centre and she is not alone in feeling this way. The Swedish Housing authority conducted a study among female residents and found that many women felt afraid and uncomfortable in the city centre.
The proposed solution, feminist urban planning, would see several measures implemented to try and make women feel safer in the area. One of the proposals is to enhance the brightness and number of street lights, which the feminists believe will attract more women and children to the area and perhaps encourage more women to do business in the centre.
The major proposal made by the group is to move a cafe to a different part of the city centre. According to the planners, the cafe would be moved to an area with less foot traffic and a view of houses making the women feel more comfortable.
“There is a structural change that needs to happen, but I think if we arrange safer spaces for women to and from the subway, it will affect quite a lot of women in their daily lives,” a spokesman for the planners said.
The owners of the cafe in question were more sceptical about the plan saying that they would like to see more female visitors, but the male domination of the area is a much deeper problem. “[Moving the cafe] will not affect the mentality of people here,” the owner said.
Some feminists have left Husby because of Islamic fundamentalism in the area. Former Left Party politician Zeliha Dagli described a “morality police” operated by men who harass women considered to be dressed in an “immodest” manner.
Feminist urban planning follows a number of other feminist initiatives by the Swedish government, some of which have been highly controversial. The streets of Stockholm were left in gridlock last winter when the city employed a feminist snow ploughing policy which saw pedestrian areas ploughed before main roads, resulting in public transport unable to function.
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