Gender Smart | October 23, 2017

Women in the megacities of the future

The team at


London is the most female-friendly city megacity of today, thanks to universal healthcare and access to education and financial services.

The most dangerous city for women is Cairo, where violence against women is widespread. Delhi and Sao Paolo rank the worst for sexual violence, such as rape. Lima came in last in women’s access to healthcare, with wide gaps in reproductive health between the rich and poor and back-alley abortions are a leading cause of death for women.

A survey by the Thomson Reuters Foundation of 380 gender experts in 19 countries ranked cities on measures for the treatment of women, including sexual violence, access to reproductive-health options, female genital mutilation and economic opportunity.

The status of women in megacities is crucial as accelerating urbanization means as many as six billion people will live in such cities by 2045. “We chose women because they are a real economic accelerator, re-investing 90% of their salary into their families.

So when a woman thrives, her immediate community thrives with her,” says Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “Understanding and preparing for the biggest issues arising from mass urbanization is crucial if we really want to meet the UN’s global goals by 2030.”

Tokyo and Paris followed London in female-friendliness. But even in leading cities, there’s more work to be done. In London, women earn £12,000 less than their male counterparts.

Just over one-quarter of director-level roles are filled by women, and families face exorbitant childcare costs. In Paris, women praised economic opportunities but said harassment remains a problem.

To which many women around the world might say, #MeToo.