It’s a silent but very powerful symbol for women — a pin meant to start an international movement for women’s safety.
Calgarian Steph Colangeli created Pin-Up-Girl. She said was inspired to develop the concept after her own vulnerable experience.
“I was walking through the parking lot one night and doing what most people do and scanned my environment. I heard voices and I looked around and checked my surroundings to look for signs I was safe,” Colangeli said.
“Wouldn’t that be great if we as women have somewhere to go if you needed to feel safe.”
The idea was modelled after the child safety organization, Block Parent. Years ago, signs in doors and windows of homes let kids know that if they needed help, they could go to that home as a safe haven.
These pins are meant to be a visible invitation to all women that they have a supportive confidante in the Pin-Up-Girls.
Women proudly wearing the pin say they want to offer an empathetic ear. Rummy Rendina said she didn’t hesitate to accept the responsibility.
“It’s a way of self-expression,” Rendina said. “And the reward is it doesn’t matter where you go, you’ve got a partner.”
Pin-Up-Girl offers a non-judgemental space for conversation. Alanna Niznik said she could recall personal experiences where having that symbol would have been a help.
“I’ve had past bosses doing things they shouldn’t have done and just having something visible around like a Pin-Up-Girl at work, it would have made a difference in how I handled that,” Niznik said. “I wasn’t empowered to do something about it.”
The mission is being propelled by a societal shift. Indrani Roy felt the #MeToo movement can help their mission.
“There’s definitely a groundswell with Time magazine featuring the silence breakers and the impacts and consequences and knowledge born out of the #MeToo movement, people are examining themselves and society is moving it forward for positive outcomes,” Roy said.
The pins are free and provided by the not-for-profit organization. They’ve already been shared in cities across the country, as well as internationally in places like Dubai, London and Australia.
“My hope is that it will spread across the world and women everywhere can go anywhere and feel so safe all the time,” Colangeli said.
“Ultimately it would be great if women just knew to cover one another. We are half the population and we could really take care of one another.”