“Cities have long thought” to do neutral “when they were masculine”

Edith Maruéjouls is a geographer and specialist in matters of equality, diversity and gender in public space and playgrounds. She delivers her analysis of sexist violence and avenues to develop the situation.

Interview by Isabelle Maradan

With his design office L’Atelier Research Equality Equality (Larobe), Edith Maruéjouls supports cities wishing to conduct more egalitarian policies in urban development. The approach is complex and the long -term work, explains the academic, who intervenes during the first foundations against sexist violence, in Nantes, of which Mo12345lemonde is a partner.

How to take into account the question Has sexist violence by cities have evolved?

For the past ten years, the question of the place of women in public spaces is a political subject for cities. There is a statistical anomaly: most of the attackers are men and most of the victims are girls or women. Besides, girls are educated from early childhood to avoidance in public space and fear. They integrate very early that we should not go out at certain times, in certain places … From 12 years old, they are approached, arrested or harassed with impunity in the street.

Their taking into account in the development of public spaces is one of the concrete actions to combat violence. It is very recent. Cities have long thought of “doing neutral” when they were masculine. Characteristic example: City stadiums or skateparks do not produce diversity, but “pockets” of male, in which women are de facto welcome. Aware of this imbalance, the city of Montreuil, in Seine-Saint-Denis, launched the operation “Sport in parks”: sports activities are offered to families. The formula works: women participate in activities.

How do you support communities?

We work, for example, with the city of Nantes where an important team is devoted to the issue of gender -based violence. We start from the use of public spaces by women. In general, they move from one place to another, alone or to accompany a child or a parent. We listen to how they want to register in public space. We are studying how to allow them to stop in places where they feel good, can socialize, play sports, do number.

This is a global approach to what will be proposed, where, when, how and by whom. We are testing provisional arrangements and look at what they produce in terms of diversity. It is essential to experiment before deciding.

in your last test, entitled “Doing I (u) equal” (Double Punctuation, 2022), you describe the playground as a miniature public space, Theater of the first inequalities with girls and boys … What is the issue of your work in schools?

The playground is a mirror of the mobility of women and the occupation of space by men in the city. A handful of boys generally occupy 90 % of the space with a soccer field. As in the City Stades, everyone has the right to go there, but it is the boys who decide the right to play or not, in this stereotypical space around performance and virility. To make the weight, you have to build an alternative. The adult must be proactive.

What can do?

Ask the children how it is important, for society, that girls and boys, as individuals, mix and play together. He must also recall that each other have equal value, work on the need to listen to and negotiate the occupation of public space.

/Media reports cited above.