Social Entrepreneur Kalpana Viswanath Created a Startup That Seeks to Make Traveling Safer for Women Across India
Safety is a top priority when it comes to women who travel in India. It is important to feel safe whether it is home, workplace, roads, or transport. However, in India, women are not completely safe. Especially, trips for single women are even more dangerous. Every day, we get to hear tormenting tales of sexual assault and violence against women in India. The #MeToo movement in 2018 highlighted a plethora of cases of sexual assault at workplaces and harrowing misuse of power by men. Even today, women’s safety is a concern. But thanks to brave minds like Kalpana Viswanath, who stood up to bring in a positive change and work on safe travel tips for women. She is constantly working hard to keep women safe, wherever they are.
Kalpana Viswanath is a researcher and a social entrepreneur who has been working on gender-related issues for women for about 20 years. She is the co-founder of Safetipin, a mobile app built to support the community of women. It leverages technology to gather data to ensure safe travel for women. It was in 2013 when she teamed up with her tech-savvy husband, Ashish Basu to launch the app – Safetipin. The app allows women to check the safety of a preferred location. The app analysis the location basis various parameters such as transportation facilities, neighborhood, the lighting of the area, the density of the people, deserted spots, frequency, and an average number of women seen on the road to name a few. Any woman can download this app and carry out the safety audit by following the guidelines. It gives women a sense of safety and protection.
Kalpana has also been working to create a positive impact on women’s lives. Through all these years, she has been involved in multiple projects such as largescale studies to identify parameters that can make cities more inclusive. She is an active member of the Jagori organization. It offers counseling services to women who have survived various kinds of violence. Being a senior and experienced advisor, she had led the training of over 3000 drivers in Delhi Transport Corporation on how to keep a sharp state of awareness and diligence of women’s safety.
She had also been the Project Director of the Gender Inclusive Cities Program with Women in Cities International. It is an international network for women and cities. She drove an action research study on the elements prompting gender inclusion or exclusion in four cities and on designing interventions in partnership with local government conducted by community women to address safety and inclusion concerns. She has additionally offered technical help to the safe city for women programs in Cambodia, Pakistan, Indonesia, Kerala, Mumbai, and Kolkata.
She is also a member of the Advisory Group on Gender Issues at UN-Habitat and Board member of the International Center for the Prevention of Crime (ICPC) and the Chair of the International Advisory Committee of Women in Cities International. She is also on the Advisory Committee of the Second State of Asian Cities brought out by UN-Habitat and UN ESCAP and has published generally and has published broadly in magazines and journals. She has co-altered a book on Building Gender Inclusive Cities.
Now, women across India can make safer and informed travel decisions. This app is a great boon for solo female travelers. Thanks for Kalpana Viswanath!