An Application of the Ecological Model to the Causes and Prevention of Sexual Harassment in Informal Areas of Greater Cairo

Rasha Hassan , Population Council
Rania Roushdy, The American University in Cairo
Maia Sieverding, American University of Beirut

Sexual harassment in public spaces is a widespread problem in Cairo that has multidimensional impacts on women’s health, mobility and economic opportunities. This paper presents the results of formative research in two informal areas of Cairo that applied the ecological model to develop a community-based intervention to combat sexual harassment. Women reported frequent exposure to harassment but very few reported harassment to the police. Although respondents tended to place the direct blame for harassment on the individual and interpersonal levels, particularly moral failures of both women who were harassed and men who harassed, it was clear from their discussions that community- and societal-level factors such as violence, gender inequality and mistrust of the police contributed to the prevalence of harassment. Interventions to increase confidence in the harassment law and encourage a broader sense of safety and security in informal neighborhoods are needed in order to address the drivers of harassment.

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 Presented in Session 5. Health & Mortality 1