SDG 11: Cities & Communities



global average 2019 SDG Gender Index score on SDG 11


of women aged 15+ in Latin America and the Caribbean reported that they did not “feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where you live”


of people worldwide will likely live in cities by 2030

Why SDG 11 matters for gender equality

By 2030, it is estimated that 60% of people worldwide will likely live in cities. SDG 11 recognises that sustainable urbanisation requires quality transport systems, access to green and public spaces, policies to protect citizens from harassment, mitigation strategies for disasters, and safe and affordable housing and basic services.

Many cities in the developing world have a predominantly or growing population of women, which indicates that rural to urban migration trends are gendered. And urban policies have distinct impacts on women and girls, as they can face challenges related to health, mobility and safety from violence when living in cities. For women and girls, cities can open doors to improved services, better work and increased independence. Yet urban spaces can also pose unique threats to their safety and health.

Jessica Lomelin / Equal Measures 2030, Equal Measures 2030

Issues and Indicators

The 2019 SDG Gender Index examines gender focused issues and data under SDG 11 and provides a more complete picture of both the goal itself and its relationship to gender equality. Explore the included issues and indicators below.

Indicator 11aProportion of women who report having had enough money to provide adequate shelter or housing in the past 12 months
RationaleWith increasing urbanization globally, housing affordability is critical to ensuring that cities provide healthy and safe living environments for all citizens. Housing deficits and poor living conditions impose extra burdens on women and girls, who spend more time at home on household and unpaid labor—in polluted urban slums, it is most often women who spend the most time in areas heavily polluted by unclean cookstoves and who wash clothing in contaminated water sources.
Indicator 11bAnnual mean level of fine particulate matter
RationaleFine particulate matter, a measure of air pollution, has significant effects on the health and quality of life of all urban residents. It impacts women’s wellbeing, causing a range of respiratory and maternal health issues, for example, which are exacerbated by household pollution from cooking on stoves or fires with polluting fuels.
Indicator 11cPercentage of women aged 15+ years who report that they “feel safe walking alone at night in the city or area where you live”
RationaleGender gaps in perceptions of safety show how women around the world – in both developed and developing countries – reflect restrictions on mobility, access to public spaces, transport and their ability to decide where and what hours to work