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App tackling street harassment wins Barking and Dagenham Council's gender equality hackathon

PUBLISHED: 10:16 08 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:16 08 February 2018

NOYO (Not On Your Own) were the winners of the hackathon with their app designed to tackle street harassment

NOYO (Not On Your Own) were the winners of the hackathon with their app designed to tackle street harassment

Archant

An app combatting street harassment took first prize at Barking and Dagenham's gender equality hackathon on the weekend.

An app combatting street harassment took first prize at Barking and Dagenham’s gender equality hackathon on the weekend.

NOYO (Not On Your Own) lets you record incidents of harassment on the street by placing a pin on a map, in a similar way to Google Maps.

The hackathon was part of the council’s HerStory series, a programme of events throughout 2018 tackling gender inequality and celebrating women in the borough.

Rita Chadna, 45, from Barking and Dagenham’s voluntary services, was part of the winning team.

She said: “The original idea was about doing an online quiz but we were struggling, so we went back to the drawing board and began to think, what would be the most useful idea for women.

“It came off the back of our own experiences, every single woman in the group had had some experience of harassment on the street. One of the women had even experienced it that very morning.”

Users put a pin in the map if being catcalled, with the option to report it. Public services could then use it to look at the positioning of offences.

“It could be used, for example, if you’d just left the office and you got harassed in the street – you can place an alert and it’d tell people back in the office what had happened,” Rita said.

The hackathon took place over two days, and had four groups of around six women each, most of whom were total strangers.

“None of us knew each other, you just went in and chose a table to do with an issue you were interested in – for some that was the pay gap, for others it was community safety,” Rita said.

“In our group, we had a real mix. There were two local residents, and three women involved in artificial intelligence or computing, so I learnt loads.”

After the design process on the Saturday, in which many worked into the night, groups spent Sunday presenting their apps to the three judges – the Fawcett Society’s Jemima Olchawski, councillor Sade Bright, and CEO of the Barking Enterprise Centre, Karen West-Whylie.

Other ideas included an app to report online bullying, and one which helped users assess how good an employer is in terms of gender equality.

The winners will meet with the council in the next few weeks to look into developing the app.

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