How Liveable Are Our Cities If Women Don’t Feel Safe?

Last week’s crowning of Melbourne as the world’s most livable city by The Economist’s Global Liveability Ranking and Report had city fathers and tourism chiefs launching into another round of barely concealed gloating.

With an overall livability score of 97.5 out of 100, Victorian Premier Denis Napthine called the result ‘terrific’ while Melbourne Mayor Robert Doyle said he would ring Vancouver’s Mayor, which placed third, to boast.

Sydney, Adelaide and Perth also made it into the top ten.

There’s no doubt that we are incredibly lucky to live in Australia but, at the risk of sounding unAustralian, can I just ask: liveable for whom?

Just days before the Most Liveable Cities announcement, women in Melbourne’s west were confronted with a different kind of announcement. They were told that they should not go jogging alone.

It didn’t come from The Economist’s Intelligence Unit. This time it was an official statement from Victoria Police in response to a serial sexual predator who has so far assaulted 13 women. For their own safety Detective Inspector Allison said, ‘[W]e’d like to encourage all woman who are exercising to do so with a companion.’

Right here in the most liveable city in the world, police are issuing public warnings to women to stay indoors because it’s not safe for them to undertake an ordinary day-to-day activity — an activity that men have the luxury of doing anywhere, anytime without a second thought.


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