From Delhi to Port Moresby, cities take baby steps to make women feel safer

Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:31pm EDT
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By Nita Bhalla

NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Going out for dinner and not sure which area would be safer at night for a woman traveling on her own? Want to track your daughter to ensure she gets back from college safely?

A map-based mobile safety app may be your answer. Safetipin, designed by the charity Jagori uses crowd sourcing to rate the safety of areas in Delhi based on factors including lighting, population density, transport and gender diversity.

It also acts as a personal GPS tracker, allowing users to be tracked or to trace a loved one.

Safetipin is one of thousands of projects being rolled out in cities across the world as part of a United Nations initiative to stem cases of rape, sexual harassment and molestation in urban areas.

From New Delhi in India to Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea and Quito in Ecuador, a small but growing number of municipalities, charities, companies and community groups are joining U.N. Women's "Safe Cities Global Initiative".

"Unsafe public spaces limit women's and girl's life choices. This daily reality limits their freedom to participate in education, work, recreation, and in political life," said Laxmi Puri, deputy executive director of U.N. Women.

"In many cities, adolescent girls are afraid to walk on their own when they go to school on the streets in their own neighborhoods because they experience various forms of sexual harassment, such as cat-calling, stalking, whistling, touching."

One in three women globally have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence, according to U.N. Women.   Continued...