The need for women safety is increasing day by day, be it offline or online.
There are various online applications and initiatives developed for this purpose. Using access to basic phone features like contact list, GPS, SMS etc, these apps allow you to send a distress message to your trusted contacts, let them know your location, directly call the police helpline, etc.
A lot of them came into the marketplace after the 2012 Delhi gang rape. However, most of these tend to be clumsily made and cannot be accessed easily. There is a lot of manual intervention needed.
One app that aims to address these is TheRideSafeApp among others. They are focusing on the three main features but plan to add some others later.
They inform you when the driver is deviating from the normal route, sends messages to people you choose when you start and arrive, and share your routes with friends.
As mentioned earlier, the problem with apps is that they tend to be clumsy. You have to open your phone, unlock it, open the app and then press a button. Also, most of the times, the perpetrators usually go after the phone first.
Independent Safety Devices
The need is to develop independent devices like safety bands, rings, keyrings, etc. that can be carried around in disguise and used faster. For eg–Tech Mahindra has already taken up steps in this direction. They plan to roll out lockets, key chains, etc to their female employees that will allow them to send emergency messages to their location in times of distress.
I feel that telematics technology would be a huge help for women who drive, and frequently travel at night. That because there are GPS tracking devices that can always keep a family member or friend updated about where you are.
While on the surface it might sound like an infringement of privacy, the point is you are always in control of who can view your location. If you have parents who regularly worry and call you up till you reach home, a GPS tracker can be really useful. They will know where you are, how far from home, and reach you in case you need the assistance of any kind. Basically, it will keep someone in the loop every time you travel, and they will know if something is wrong.
There are also OBD devices that you can plug into your car, to stay updated on how the car is performing. This information can be very useful as you will know about any problems with the engine, the battery, or other electronic components. Knowing that you can get these issues fixed in time and not get stuck with an unexpected breakdown.
Ankit Goel is a student of Satyawati College, New Delhi and this effort is a part of Google India and SheThePeople initiative Digital Trust Dialogues across colleges in India.