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The new app that literally puts women on the map

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A group of women have designed an app that sends the user a push notification when they pass a spot where a woman made history.

Called Women on the Map, the app was designed by American gender equality collective, Spark.

The group, consisting of 30 women under the age of 23, decided to create the app after they felt frustrated that women’s achievements are disproportionately celebrated in relation to men’s.

On their website, they state:

“Looking around, you’d think that women rarely did things that made history.”

“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….in New York City there are 150 statues of people: 145 are men and 5 are of women…”

“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.”

After approaching Google to complain that their popular ‘doodles’ were only representing women 17% of the time, the company invited the group to join its mapping app, Field Trip, which notes historical points of interest.

Mary Anning

Paleontologist, Mary Anning

If you download the app and select the Women on the Map source, you will receive an alert when you pass a significant location. For example, if you pass Le Vésinet in Paris, you will learn about the American-born French dancer, Josephine Baker and if you’re in Lyme Regis, you will learn about paleontologist Mary Anning, who discovered a dinosaur’s fossils.

It’s not that women don’t make history or achieve incredible things, say Spark, it’s that they aren’t being recognised for them.

The group began researching women around the globe (28 countries so far) who have made significant contributions to history and are mapping the locations of their achievements.

Anyone can nominate a woman to be included, either from their hometown or from history, simply by emailing Spark with a 300 word piece about why the candidate deserves to be included.

At the moment, the group are focusing on including women neglected by the history books, telling Time: “We want the project to expand what it means to be part of history.”

Currently, 60% of the stories on the app (just 100) are about women of colour, which serves to emphasise the extent to which ethnic minorities have been left out of the history books.

You can download it here.

Words: Harriet Hall

Images: Rex Features

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