There have been numerous stories about how GPS enabled phones can sometimes endanger women by making it easy for their abusers to stalk them and track them down, but as this report from MobileActive demonstrates, cellphone technology can also help to improve women’s safety.
For women in Egypt, sexual harassment is an unwelcome but all too common part of life. In 2008, the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights released statistics stating that 83% of Egyptian women and 98% of foreign women in Egypt reported exposure to sexual harassment. HarassMap, a project based in Cairo, plans to give women an outlet to report instances of harassment.
…Unfortunately, although a law against sexual harassment was proposed in 2008, it was never voted on and there are currently no laws against sexual harassment in Egypt (although according to The National, a new law was recently drafted). The goal of HarassMap is to once again draw attention to the problem of sexual harassment in order to bring the issue back to light, and hopefully push the government to pass laws that give women more legal recourse against their harassers. According to Chiao, it’s very difficult for women to report sexual harassment to the police; they can, but it’s a difficult process and often futile. In fact, some police forces have taken an active part in street harassment at times. Strict anti-harassment laws would hopefully give women more leverage to report problems.
To learn more about the technology involved, click here.