This article has been sponsored by MG Motor India
Stalking, groping, catcalling — these are just some of the many ways in which women are made to feel unsafe. Traversing down dark and empty streets must entail keeping an eye out for any sort of trouble, or keeping your loved ones constantly updated through texts and calls. So even a 5-minute walk can be exhausting and harrowing.
Like every woman in the country, Kalpana Vishwanath was no stranger to this. “When I was working on United Nations projects, we did a safety audit based on several parameters to ascertain how safe women felt in public spaces. That’s when I realised public safety was a critical issue, because while there were laws about violence at home and sexual harassment at the workplace, streets as a site of violence had not been really addressed,” she tells The Better India.
The gap here was that people were not equipped with adequate data regarding the state of these streets. To work around this, Kalpana developed an app which lets anyone contribute and see all the data regarding safety in a city. Safetipin is a crowdsourcing app where a user can login and submit key information regarding streets such as the lights, footpath conditions, mobility, visibility, transportation, crowd, and the number of women and children, as well as share photographs and their own experiences to better inform other users.
Since then, Safetipin has done nearly 4 lakh audits, across 65 cities in 16 countries, with their user base being close to 1 lakh. So far, Safetipin has made betterments in Delhi, Bogota, Hanoi, Manila, Bengaluru, Dhaka, Nairobi, and many other urban spaces.
The Better India and MG Motor India have come together to co-create MGChangemakers Season 3, a series recognising and commemorating heroes who are using innovation for social change, like Kalpana.
Watch how she is helping women reclaim public spaces in this video: