Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Women Programmers Fight Sexual Harassment at India’s First All-Female Hackathon

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, December 13 2012

Bangalore has proven itself to be India’s Silicon Valley over the past several years, but tech accessibility remains sharply divided in a country of deep social contrasts, and women are often disenfranchised in digital life (as reports of a recent ban on mobile phone use by rural women corroborate). The first all-female hackathon was hosted in the tech capital this week, bringing developers together to collaborate on humanitarian projects that could improve the lives of women across the country.

Hackathon teams worked together to write code on open-source software. Many were focused on everyday issues faced by women in India, like one app that aids in signaling authorities and collecting evidence during street harassment.

Called Bachao, the cellphone app, when it is done, would allow users to press a single button to send distress signals if they are attacked by somebody and would also automatically switch on the phone's audio and video recording functions so that it could later be used as evidence.

Sexual harassment remains a critical issue for women in India, but the increased use of mobile technology is raising awareness; a video capturing the molestation of a woman by a group of men in the northeastern city of Guwahatiwent viral in July, raising an outcry among women’s rights activists. Recent reports show that 17 percent of Indian women face harassment in the workplace. One app currently available on the Indian market reports harassment on GPS, SMS and victims’ Facebook pages.


Aljazeer International report on sexual harassment of women in India

The event took place as part of the third Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Bangalore, and was sponsored by the Anita Borg Institute for Women and Technology. Other Hackathon projects included apps for natural disaster response, environmental initiatives, and girls’ education in Africa.

Personal Democracy Media is grateful to the Omidyar Network for its generous support of techPresident's WeGov section.

News Briefs

RSS Feed wednesday >

First POST: Outgassing

How Beijing is throttling expressions of solidarity with the Hong Kong democracy protests; is the DCCC going overboard with its online fundraising tactics?; SumOfUs's innovative new engagement metric; and much, much more. GO

tuesday >

With Vision of Internet Magna Carta, Web We Want Campaign Aims To Go Beyond Protest Mode

On Saturday, Tim Berners-Lee reiterated his call for an Internet Magna Carta to ensure the independence and openness of the World Wide Web and protection of user privacy. His remarks were part of the opening of the Web We Want Festival at the Southbank Centre in London, which the Web We Want campaign envisioned as only the start of a year long international process underlying his call to formulate concrete visions for the open web of the future, going beyond protests and the usual advocacy groups. GO

First POST: Lifestyles

Google's CEO on "work-life balance"; how CloudFlare just doubled the size of the encrypted web; Dems like Twitter; Reps like Pinterest; and much, much more. GO

monday >

First POST: Showdown

How demonstrators in Hong Kong are using mobile tech to route around government control; will the news penetrate mainland China?; dueling spin from Dems and Reps on which party's tech efforts will matter more in November; and much, much more. GO

friday >

Pirate MEP Crowdsources Internet Policy Questions For Designated EU Commissioners

While the Pirate Party within Germany was facing internal disputes over the last week, the German Pirate Party member in the European Parliament, Julia Reda, is seeking to make the European Commission appointment process more transparent by crowdsourcing questions for the designated Commissioner for Digital Economy & Society and the designated Vice President for the Digital Single Market. GO

First POST: Dogfood

What ethical social networking might look like; can the iPhone promise more privacy?; how Obama did on transparency; and much, much more. GO

thursday >

First POST: Sucks

How the FCC can't communicate; tech is getting more political; Facebook might see a lawsuit for its mood manipulation experiment; and much, much more. GO

More