Em-URGE-ing Voices

Your urgent thoughts, urging action

Putting #Women on the Map

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March 23, 2015

Google Doodle for Emmy Noether

Google Doodle for Emmy Noether

In recognition of Women’s Herstory Month,  I wanted to acknowledge an organization called Sexualization Protest: Action, Resistance, and Knowledge (SPARK).

Similar to URGE, one of SPARK’s initiatives is to develop and foster online dialogue to promote advocacy and activism. One of SPARK’s primary goals are to combat the negative sexualization of women and teach women about activism using the range of media at our disposal.

As I scrolled through my Feedly, I came across an article titled “SPARK And Google Created An App That Highlights The History Women Made Right Beneath Your Feet“.

On some days, Google celebrates historical moments, upcoming events, and political/social figures using a Google Doodle. It got me thinking. I never really payed attention to the lack of diversity in terms of race and color on the Google homepage. As the video below explains, when there is a lack of diversity in terms of race, sex, and sexuality in history books and media, it gives the impression that only a select few individuals have contributed to our world. As such, it is essential to underscore the achievements of people from different backgrounds.

SPARK chose to rectify the lack of diversity by including the narratives of women using the Field Trip app (woot woot for women and technology) created by Google. When you are close to a good restaurant or a historical landmark, the Field Trip app on your smartphone will send you a notification that will include information about the interesting things around you.

SPARK takes it a step further by including a “herstorytelling” component. The Women on the Map app notifies users when they are in close proximity to historical locations where dynamic women have stood. Click on the icon in the right-hand corner once you have downloaded the app. Then click on “Historic Places and Events” under “Select Your Interests”. Lastly, scroll down and click on “SPARK: Women On the Map” and start learning! You can also select the frequency with which you receive notifications from the app.


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This idea is fantastic and innovative. It highlights great women and their achievements. I had my reservations at the beginning, but SPARK makes a conscious effort to include women from different countries with a range of achievements in the areas of science, literature, and music. I look forward to seeing how this pro-women campaign evolves and expands. Some of the women included on the app are:

Nobuka Yishiya

Ella Baker

Akazome Emon

Claude Cahun

Septima Poinsette Clark

Xie Bingxin

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