A woman's world: creating spaces for joy, leisure and resistance in South and Southeast Asia

Kontinentalist and Chambal Media

Enhancing women’s mobility and safety in cities is a long-standing concern in the ongoing fight for gender equality. Previous research has covered topics such as commuter safety in public transportation, prevention of sexual harassment, and the outsized effects of unsafe neighborhoods on women’s livelihoods. However, women deserve equality in their access to cities beyond simply safety and utility concerns. Current literature neglects how women access cities for leisure. Recreation is critical for productivity, creativity and quality of life, and yet is often overlooked.

Together with an all-female team from academia, Kontinentalist and digital social media enterprise Chambal Media, I am studying how perceptions of safety affect how women and LGBTQ persons access cities for leisure. We map the creative initiatives of female-led grassroots groups and safe spaces in taking ownership of their leisure experiences despite often having little say in the urban design process. We use surveys, interviews, focus group discussions and life logging to synthesize and will release a data story plus social meda campaign celebrating how women and LGBTQ persons are actively creating a world they can move through with ease, despite negligent and hostile environments.

2022 - Present
Data Visualization
Bianchi Dy, Mariyam Haider, Srishti Mehra, Griselda Gabriele, Angel Martinez, Amanda Khoo, Siti Aishah, Nabilah Said

(1) Organizations and persons reached out to for the research phase
(2) Results of the focus group discussion with I conducted with Sunday Nudes, a model-led figure drawing community in Metro Manila.

I used qualitative coding to capture insights into physical, social and economic challenges to women in creating leisure spaces, accessing recreation and experiencing leisure. The team applied this to our interviews, survey results and focus group discussions.

With the help of Kota Kita, a participatory design firm based in Solo, Indonesia, we engaged women from different backgrounds (freelancers, mothers, disability advocates) to understand their perceptions, wishes and personal stories around access to and experience of safe spaces for recreation and religion.