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Women on the Map

Looking around, you’d think that women rarely did things that made history. Check out some of these stats from Equal Visibility Everywhere that illustrate the issue:

  • There are no US holidays named after women
  • There are no women on US paper currency
  • Only nine of the 100 statues in the US National Statuary Hall are of women.
  • Fewer than 25% of US postage stamps honoring people feature women
  • In New York City there are 150 statues of people: 145 are men and 5 are of women.

Those facts are all US-based, but this is a worldwide issue. Think about the schools you’ve attended, the buildings you’ve worked in, the streets you’ve lived on and driven down. Who were they named after? Probably not women.

Last year, we saw the same thing happen when we looked at Google’s Doodles: between 2010 and 2013, only 17% of Google Doodles around the world honored women. When we talked to them about it, not only had they already started fixing the problem, but they also invited us to join their Field Trip app. Google knows, as we do, that it’s not that women don’t make history–it’s that we don’t honor them for it.

That’s what we’re aiming to fix with Women on the Map, a new project of SPARK Movement hosted on Field Trip, a mapping app by Google.

So far, we’ve researched and written about over 100 women around the world who have done something incredible. Then, using Field Trip, we linked those achievements with IRL places. When you download Field Trip and turn on SPARK’s Women on the Map, your phone will buzz when you approach a place where a woman made history.

Here’s a quick look at just some of the stories we’re featuring in our initial launch of the app:

The Arpilleristas in Santiago, Chile, a group of women who wove colorful tapestries documenting the turmoil and violence of Pinochet’s regime.

Mary Ellen Pleasant in San Francisco, CA, an activist and abolitionist who, among other things, would dress like a jockey to help slaves escape their plantations.

Mary Anning in Lyme, England, a renowned fossilist who discovered fossils of a Plesiosaurus, rocking the scientific community to its core.

To learn about these women and more, get the app! It’s available for free on Android and iOS. On Android, once you download it, you’re done! Our cards will show up in the “history” category. Have an iPhone? Once you’ve downloaded the app, look for “SPARK: Women on the Map” in “Historic Places and Events.” Make sure the box is checked, and that’s it!

This is only the beginning. There are so, so many more than 100 women who deserve to be honored, from all walks of life and all parts of the world. Here’s how you can help make sure their stories aren’t forgotten:

1)   Share this with your friends, students, networks and communities.

2)   Make a donation so we can continue to research and write and ensure there are thousands more WomenOnTheMap! Unfortunately, due to a lack of resources, we are unable to add any new stories to Field Trip at this time. We’re hoping to raise enough money soon to be able to add the hundreds of women’s stories that have been sent to us in recent months but we do not have the staff capacity at the moment. Click HERE to make a tax deductible donation so we can expand this project and share thousands of stories.


The video for this project (above) is licensed under Creative Commons CC-BY-SA 4.0. 

Music: “Please Listen Carefully” by Jahzzar, licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0

Photo attributions: 

21.AmericasPresidents.NPG.WDC.11feb07, Elvert Barnes,  licensed under CC-BY 2.0
Clinton, Bush the first, and Regan, Sean Hayford Oleary, licensed under CC-BY 2.0
Capitol Building, Kunal Mukherjee, licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0
Kachidoki bridge, Yu Morita, licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0
Hotel de Coronado, David Seibold, licensed under CC-BY-NC 2.0
Big Ben – London, Pedro Ignacio Guridi, licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
Midtown Manhattan, Justin Brown, licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0
Paris Skyline Eiffel Tower, Taylor Miles, licensed under CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0
The Old Joburg Post Office, Pascal Parent, licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
Warsaw’s Old Town Marketplace, Jorge Láscar, licensed under CC-BY 2.0
Sunrise Panorama, Peter Liu, licensed under  CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0
Fenway, Lis Ferla, licensed under CC-BY-NC 2.0

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