by Joneka Percentie, Katy Ma & Aviv Rau
For the past year, we’ve been quietly working on a project that we’re thrilled to finally announce! SPARK has teamed up with Google to put Women On The Map so that wherever you are in the world, you can be alerted about something amazing that a woman did right where you are standing. In celebration of Women’s History Month, we are thrilled to launch this unique SPARK “herstorytelling” project on Field Trip, a location-based app created by Google that recommends unique and interesting places to visit. We have “mapped” more than 100 amazing and impressive women, and connected their stories with landmarks and locations significant to their lives in dozens of cities and 28 countries around the world.
Why It’s Dope
We learn history in many ways. Through history classes, textbooks, movies, national holidays, and museums, we learn about who is important in the world. We also learn history by reading the names of buildings, street signs, parks and public monuments. Combined, these cultural indicators inform us of whose accomplishments in history are significant enough to remember and celebrate. But rarely do we learn the history of women. And even rarer do we learn the history of women of color.
This project allows us to bring women–and especially women of color–to the forefront of history, where their achievements can be recognized more widely.
Women We Researched
It was super inspiring and amazing to learn about women that we never learned about in school, like Patsy Takemoto Mink, Al-Kahina and Christine Jorgensen.
Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first Japanese-American woman to practice law in Hawaii, is commemorated near her high school where she served as its first female class president and then became the nation’s first woman of color to be elected to Congress. Her commitment to immigration reform, women’s reproductive rights, and environmental conservation guided her influential politics.
Al-Kahina (or sometimes called Queen Dihya) was an African Jewish soothsayer military warrior who led an army in North Africa in the 7th century. She fought off the Arab Muslim invaders and was considered the most powerful monarch in North Africa as you will see from the glorious statue of her in Algeria where her story is “mapped.”
Near Freddie’s Supper Club in Manhattan, you would hear about Christine Jorgensen, well-loved singer and performer who frequently graced their stage. She was the first person in the United States to undergo a sex change operation and went on to become a leading trans* activist and claimed (in her words!) to have given the sexual revolution a “swift kick in the pants!”
How to Get It
To learn about more amazing women whose stories have not been so well-documented by history, you can download Field Trip (for free!) in the App Store – For Android, go to: http://goo.gl/keQA0J or iPhone: iOS http://goo.gl/kMuspZ . Once you’ve got it on your phone, go to “Historic Places & Events” and scroll down to the “S”s and then click on “SPARK: Women on the Map.” Now wherever you are in the world, you will get alerted when you are approaching a landmark that marks the story of one of our 100+ amazing ladies. Make sure your shoes are tied because the stories of these women will knock your socks off!
Clearly there are more than 100 amazing women who contributed to history! Just because SPARK did not have the resources to tell the stories of every fabulous woman who ever lived, doesn’t mean we don’t want to. Here is where you come in. There are three important ways that you can help expand this project:
1) You can contribute to this database and write about a woman whose life inspires you. She could be someone from your hometown or someone from ancient history. Write a 150-300 word bio about her life (she can’t still be living) and accomplishments, along with a location connected to her life. Find a photo or image to go along with it. Email to dana@SPARKsummit.com and write “Women On The Map” in the subject line.
2) Share this with your friends, students, networks and communities.
By increasing the visibility of accomplished women around the world, we give girls like us a new way to learn a more inclusive history.