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Healthy, Secure and Gender Just Cities: Transnational Perspectives on Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) in Rio de Janeiro and London



Brazil has long struggled with high levels of violence against women, with thousands killed and injured each year. In turn, many migrant women in the Brazilian diaspora also face high levels of gender-based violence. This project seeks to understand this endemic problem in relation to health, citizenship and justice across borders.  

Through a study of residents in Complexo da Maré, the largest favela in Rio de Janeiro, and migrants who form the Brazilian diaspora in London, the project will map the current experiences of VAWG in both contexts as well as the current nature of and gaps in service provision for survivors. It will also examine the ways that migration can maintain or reconfigure patterns of gender-based violence. Combining testimonies, small-scale survey work and service mapping as well as innovative participatory tools mobilized through focus groups and theatre workshops, the project will help provide new insights into the factors that underpin the perpetration of violence against women in Brazil and among its diaspora communities in the UK.

The project is funded by the ESRC (UK) as part of the Newton Fund and the Urban Transformations portfolio. It will run from May 2016 through to April 2018. The project partners are:

United Kingdom

  • School of Geography at QMUL:
    • Professor Cathy McIlwaine (Principal Investigator)
    • Dr Yara Evans (Research Associate)
  • School of English and Drama at QMUL:
    Professor Paul Heritage (Co-Investigator)

Other partners in the UK:


Key project activities/outcomes:  

  • Filmed theatre productions and community-level workshops
  • Dissemination events in Rio de Janeiro and London
  • Production of bilingual policy papers for policy makers
  • Co-authored research monograph and journal articles


Twitter: @VAWGRioLondon

Urban Transformations

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