Listening to my beloved Click-On this week (see my previous post about the brilliance of Click-On), I heard about a fantastic new feminist venture which is simple, direct and incredibly easy to use. It’s called HarassMap, and it is setting out to put an end to street harrassment of women in Egypt.
Here’s how it works: you’re walking down the street and you get some casual, off-the-cuff sexual harrassment: a shouted proposition or derogatory remark about your body or choice of attire. All women have experienced it; most women consider it normal. That’s deeply sad in itself. But in Egypt, the situation is especially bad. So when this happens to you in Egypt, you send a text message to a number saying where you are and what happened. The computer which receives the SMS maps your position and builds up a picture of what is happening where: open-source mapping, put to thoroughly good use. At a glance you can see which areas are worst-hit by this social disease.
And then you can work towards eradicating it.
That’s the best thing about this project: the creators don’t want to point the finger, or get on a moral pedestal. It’s something that’s going wrong in the world, and they’re trying to find a positive and effective way to fix it.