Using Safety Technology to Improve Training Opportunities and Labor Force Participation for Women: Experimental Evidence From India

This research project aims to study the effects of a scalable intervention on Violence Against Women (VAW) and its effects on labour supply decisions as a part of the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Skills’ Skills Strengthening for Industrial Value Enhancement (STRIVE) operation in India.

Background
Violence against women (VAW) in public spaces affects women’s physical mobility and consequently, their access to economic opportunities. Additionally, women tend to let go or not report softer forms of violence because of the extensive pervasiveness of these crimes, despite 52% of all women from the baseline having reported facing harassment at least once a month. This project thus through a technology-based intervention wishes to investigate if we could through improvements in the response-time to calls of distress, improve perceptions towards (their own) safety and consequently empower women to take more optimal decisions with respect to economic and labour market choices. A safety mobile application will be randomly distributed to half the sample that can be used by the women to send an alarm to a private response team for speedy redressal. This is being conducted with trainees enrolled at selected Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) in Delhi NCR area including parts of Uttar Pradesh and Haryana, to assess the effects on trainees’ perceptions of safety and choices with respect to physical mobility, skills acquisition, labour market aspirations and outcomes.
Approach
To understand this impact, a randomized control trial (RCT) has been designed. The treatment arm will be provided with an app (24 Response) that works on a crowd-sourcing algorithm that guarantees a ranger to arrive within 10 minutes to any calls of distress made by the user. The treatment arm will thus be provided with an SOS button on the app, along with a mood-safety feature where a user can indicate how safe she feels in an area. The control arm will be provided with a placebo, that only contains the mood-safety feature. Differences in the baseline and endline survey results of the two groups will help isolate the treatment effects and study the efficacy of the intervention.
Implications

This study will be one of the firsts to assess the effects of an intervention targeting VAW in public spaces in terms of the intervention’s contribution to improving women’s mobility in public spaces, skills acquisition, and LFPR. This will also be one of the first studies to assess the perceptions of parents about safety of their daughters in public spaces and how this affects the choices made by women. This is of enormous value to policymakers since it will help determine who needs to be targeted to influence the ultimate
decisions made regarding women’s participation in skills acquisition
and the labor market. 

Thematic area

Institutions

Project Leads

Sofia Amaral, Mari Micaela Svistschi, Girija Borker

Location

Bihar

Partners

24Response, World Bank, Ifo Institute

Status

Ongoing