Apps that make the world a safer place for women traveling alone

Womanbnb is one of the latest to join the world of apps and websites for women traveling alone; Amica, more on that below, also launched this year. Not to mention that travel agencies that cater specifically to women have grown by 230% over the past six years.

It’s hardly surprising then that the trend for female solo travel continues to grow, with Google Trends reporting a 70% increase in the search term in the past year alone. At the same time, safety is still a top concern for female travelers – 73 percent of them cited it as a top concern in the female solo traveler survey last year. The reality is that women feel much more vulnerable when they are alone, which has been highlighted by recent media attention around the cases of Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa.

Safer city mapping

City breaks are one of the most popular types of vacations, with booking.com reporting that more than half of UK holidaymakers plan a short trip as restrictions ease – Amsterdam, Paris and Dublin being the three first.

Yet women experience the city differently from men. At Dublin, 36% of women surveyed felt in danger walking in their neighborhood at night, compared to 13% of men. In London, in the ONS ‘first-ever feelings of personal safety survey, conducted in June this year, one in two women did not feel safe walking alone after dark on a quiet street near at home, against one in seven men. Speaking of the investigation, Nick Stripe, head of the crime statistics division, ONS, noted that while men and women both feel less safe after the After dark, “the extent to which women feel insecure is significantly greater.”

Kalpana Viswanath is co-founder of the Safe-Cities organization Safetipin, which operates in 65 cities and 16 countries. Founded in 2013, the app maps the security levels of different areas based on factors such as lighting and public transportation.

“The idea was to create something of a tool through which women in cities around the world could enter data about how they feel in public spaces,” Ms. Viswanath said.

Safetipin provides women with the data they need to assess whether certain parts of the city are safe or meeting women’s needs, such as whether there are public toilets for women in the area. Since cities are largely designed for and by men – according to the World Bank, “cities work better for men than women”, with women occupying only 10 percent of leadership positions in cities. world’s largest architectural firms – planners need to look beyond a default male user in order to make streets more inclusive. Because, interestingly, Ms. Viswanath found that “men felt safer on the streets if there were women walking around,” meaning that a street is probably safe.

“What I’ve realized from the data and the work over the last few years is that safety in a city is pretty interchangeable with the ability to walk, so if you design a city to be pedestrian it will probably be safe, and if you design it to be safe it is likely to be walkable.

“And the problem with most of our cities is that they are not designed for the walker, they are designed to move cars. Nowadays we focus a lot on creating walking possibilities, improving the capacity of bikes, active streets, promoting good bus stops where people can sit and wait. What we are seeing is that more women are using the streets, using public space. Even if each time there is a case [of gender-based violence], there is a lot of pressure to “be careful” or “not to go out at night”, the responsibility to be safe falls on women.

“It is not the responsibility of women to stay safe, it is the responsibility of all urban actors to ensure that cities are safe. So we really have the impression, through our data, that we are trying to widen women’s access to the city and not to limit it and therefore to fight against fear. Because fear limits how we can move.

Safety in numbers

Heeral Pattni is the 24-year-old founder of Amica, a sort of travel-specific Bumble connecting women who would otherwise be afraid to take the plunge to solo travel. She launched it in early 2021, a strange time you’d think of to launch a travel app. Indeed, she even fondled the idea of ​​not throwing it but what she noticed during the confinement was the importance of the community.

“When things started to open again this year, people asked when the app was going to be launched, it wasn’t just from overseas, there was a demand from the UK itself, for not to actually travel but just to make friends. ” she said.

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