A girls activist organization is partnering with Google to put women’s history on the map– literally.
SPARK, a group that works with girls age 13-22 to challenge sexualization in the media, launched a mapping project through Google’s Field Trip app that sends you a notification whenever you’re near a location where a woman once made history.
“It connects women’s stories to specific landmarks, so that wherever you are in the world, you could get an alert on your phone saying ‘hey, did you know that a woman once did a really cool thing right nearby?” explains SPARK executive director Dana Edell. The project is focused on telling stories of women who have been left out of traditional history books.
The partnership with Google began after SPARK published a report last year finding that only 17% of Google Doodle subjects were women, and only 4.3% were of women of color. Within an hour, Edell says, she got a call from Google asking how they could help spread the word about women’s history. That’s when they started talking about launching Women on the Map through Google Field Trips, an app which monitors where you are on Google Maps and notifies you when you’re near something interesting.
Women on the Map launched March 3, just in time for Women’s History Month, with 119 stories of women in 28 countries, all written and researched by girls aged 13-22. The project is crowdsourced, so anyone can submit a 300-word story about a woman in history– and it doesn’t have to be Susan B. Anthony. In fact, SPARK encouraged the girls to focus on women in their communities who might not ordinarily make it into their high school history textbook. “We didn’t want to start with women who everyone had heard of,” Edell says. “We want the project to expand what it means to be part of history.” So far, 60% of the stories are about women of color.
Anyone can submit a story– all you have to do is email a 300 word story about an important woman to Sparksummit@gmail.com, and describe how she influenced her community. And although she loves the partnership with Google, Edell hopes one day to host the project on a standalone app, so that the entries could be divided into artists, scientists, activists, and more. Right now, she says, she’s excited about getting the project off the ground “so that girls, boys and people of all ages can see that the world was created by more than just white men.”
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