On Tuesday, the Global Fund for Women announced "Não Me Calo" ("I Will Not Shut Up"), an app created by Brazilian girls to rank establishments based on how safe they are for women, as the winner of their International Girls Hackathon. The Hackathon brought together girls from all over the world to build apps that create safe spaces, both physical and virtual, for women.
Many of us have come back from a night out wishing we knew in advance that the dance floor was a free-for-all groping fest or the singer or comedian would individually target women with inappropriate sexual remarks. Não Me Calo can both benefit individual women by helping them avoid these situations and serve to boycott establishments that don't deserve money from patrons who don't feel safe there.
Here are some other applications to be on the lookout for if you'd like a way to avoid street harassment or even kidnapping:
1. Girls' Secret Talk, a website with a "pervert map" and "pervert radar"
A team in Taiwan created a way to track incidences of street harassment with an anonymous comments system to divulge details about the incidents. Users can receive updates about harassment taking place in their geographical locations.
2. Ohana, a sensor that tracks the locations of kidnapping victims
Coders in Oakland created a sensor small enough to attach to jewelry or a zipper so that users can activate "red mode" by holding down the sensor for five seconds to notify emergency contacts if they find themselves in an unsafe situation. Their website references the movie Lilo and Stitch:
These types of efforts always raise the question of whether women should take responsibility for preventing the inexcusable actions of criminals. But while we shouldn't be blamed for the atrocities committed against us, we do have the right to information that might decrease our likelihood of becoming victims.
Other products of the hackathon were more focused on education:
3. Gray Spaces, an online game for sexual assault awareness
A group of hackers in New York created a user-friendly game that walks players through a sexual assault scenario based on Emma Sulkowicz's date rape and subsequent mattress protest. The game is phrased in simple terms with gender-neutral triangles as characters to speak to users of all ages.
4. Venus, a website for Indian girls to ask questions about sex
To counteract the lack of sex education in Indian schools, a group of coders from India created Venus as a safe forum for girls to ask counselors their sex questions and find reproductive health clinics. So, in case anyone was wondering whether women were good coders, they are not only creating impressive projects at young ages but also addressing issues that many men may have overlooked. And for your own entertainment and inspiration, here's a music video by singer/songwriter Carolyn Malachi announcing the winners.