People drawing on Bottu Map

Written by Adhavan on Monday, January 1, 0001

Overwhelming intent

We had over 25 participants which slowly dwindled down to 20 in the mapping session. The first day, thoughts were scattered, but our intent was clear:

To introduce the idea that we avoid spaces

Sometimes we are not conscious of particular motivations that stop us from visiting a particular space at certain times, how do we underline this?

We had a 4ft tall map that people used to place some of their favorite places to visit in the city. Do you go to Icecream shops, your Aunt’s house?

  • What if you had to go there at 6pm? 9pm? 11pm?
  • What mode of transport do you use? Who drives?
  • Do you go alone? Why might that be?
  • What do you see?
  • How do you feel?

These questions brought up conversations that were crucial to letting people place themselves but something interesting emerged out of this. Most people who participated lived with their families and/or lived in controlled environments and possibly had primarily positive feelings in these spaces late in the evenings

To encourage the idea that spaces can inhibit life

If there is fear of use, there is an inhibition of life and the freedom to go about life. If women and other minorities find public spaces inaccessible, they are less likely to walk and involve themselves in that space. This is a feedback loop, for if there is no inclusivity, there are lesser women who will choose to use that path. [Debarati Bhattacharya seems to put it in “To Loiter or Not?”] as she writes

The underlying assumption may well be that fewer women go out and hence, the need is not at a substantial scale.

To encourage the idea that spaces are inaccessible for women and the physically challenged

Map that a participant drew of their neighbourhood As a man and as the core intent as to why we started SafeYelli, there is indeed a Gender Information Gap, which I will write more on in the next blog post. Women quite really see things differently.

For this, participants drew maps of their homes and neighbourhoods. We then asked them to place shops that their family frequents. Who and where do they buy milk from? Where do they vegetables from? Who are their friends, where do they live?

  • Now, you have to go to a shop at 10pm, who goes? Mother? Father? Sibling?
  • How do they go?
  • Why do they take particular routes?
  • Are those routes different from the routes their family members take?

On making the empathetic connection

There is a lifetime of built mental models within us. A lifetime of things that men might not have seen or heard. How do you then make them feel it and not just see it. Lets say we see a group of women in a park. They are eating lunch under the tree on a perfectly sunny, winter afternoon in Bengaluru. You are sitting at a distance and notice that eventually all of them are taking a nap. Is this something that you might see in Bengaluru. Or in your village? Or in Delhi? I haven’t seen it, nor can I imagine that happening, How does a man now look at this, introspect and then realise all the connected issues here?

What did we fail to do?

To encourage the idea that spaces are gendered

  • There was too less time for connections of empathy to be made
  • It might be helped by reducing the group sizes
  • Should there be smaller sharing circles

To reach the majority of the participating crowd

  • We worked in too large a group the first day.
  • The second day was much more fruitful



From the orientation activities, encourage a lens of accessibility for women through particular factors like

  • Streetlighting
  • Sidewalk conditions
  • Crossings
  • Road Conditions


  • Introduce point and line geometries on QField
  • Invite them to the QField project
  • Form teams to cover different areas


Mapping Hebbala

On hosting a workshop at your institution

If you are interested in having a similar workshop to introduce some of these ideas, email us at safeyelli [at] gmail [dot] com and we will get back to you lightening fast.