There's a lot being written and talked about safety of women at the moment. Women murdered at the hands of partners or ex- partners is the most shocking aspect of the risks to women but there are many other aspects of women's lives that are or can feel unsafe.
The perception of safety is another aspect of this. For women walking around streets at night, even when crowded, can feel unsafe. Men don't necessarily see this risk. For them walking alone doesn't register as risky.
It can feel unsafe in all kinds of situations for women. Talking to strangers, needing to keep one's guard up can mean that safety overrides an interest in having a friendly chat.
Women have grown up with messages of keeping themselves safe, by not dressing inappropriately, not being alone in certain places, not talking to strangers. This can severely restrict the freedom of women, stoppimg them from doing some of the things they want to do and feel disempowered as members of society. This could be reflected in the lack of women putting their hands up for positions of leadership.
Watching debates on social media.can add to the sense of unsafety for women. Sexist comments and insults can abuse women who have opinions. This can silence and intimidate and lead to a sense of emotional unsafety.
We have a long way to go before women can feel safe in our society but the conversation has at least started. This is a necessary first step in awareness raising.