The world’s most dangerous megacities for women 2017


The Thomson Reuters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Thomson Reuters, the world’s largest news and information provider, conducted a survey in 19 of the world’s biggest megacities as ranked by the United Nations.

We set out to find out which of these cities are safe for women – and which need to do more to ensure women are not at risk of sexual violence and harassment and harmful cultural practices and have access to healthcare, finance and education.

In each of the 19 megacities, we contacted 20 experts focused on women’s issues including academics, non-government organisation workers, healthcare staff, policy-makers, and social commentators.

Questions we asked

Click a question below see the polling results from 1 (worst) to 19 (best).

The Polling

The questionnaire was drafted by the Thomson Reuters Foundation with the results produced in collaboration with StarMine, a Thomson Reuters company specialised in models and analytics.

The Thomson Reuters Foundation survey results were based on a minimum of 15 experts in each country. The survey was conducted in 19 of 31 megacities listed by the United Nations with the poll only conducted in one - the largest - megacity in each country.

Our list of experts was compiled from a database of women rights’ experts built by the Thomson Reuters Foundation team that runs the annual Trust Conference and from key groups in each city in the survey. The list also reflected Google searches of the most prominent women’s issues experts in each city.

In total, 380 experts were surveyed with 355 responses, which corresponds to a response rate of 93 percent.

Polling Data

Results have been rounded to one decimal point. When two or more cities scored equally they were assigned the same ranking number. A gap, corresponding to the number of cities that tied for a position minus one, was then left in the ranking. For example in Question 3 about cultural practices New York and Shanghai tied for the 13th position and received the same ranking. One position was left out and the next city, London, ranked 15th.

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The Sampling

The Thomson Reuters Foundation conducted this survey online and on the telephone between June 1 and July 28, 2017. Those interviewed included aid professionals, academics, health workers, NGOs, policy-makers, development specialists and social commentators.

The Foundation attempted to interview a broadly representative sample based on area of expertise. Access and quality of telecommunication systems, as well as the language barrier, made some countries more accessible than others. For these reasons, no weighting has been applied to the figures.

The survey was translated into Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish and French to reach the broadest possible audience. All respondents were residents of the city for which they were answering. Their answers were treated anonymously unless the Foundation contacted them later to seek an on-the-record comment.