M(app)ing Out Women’s Historical Significance

By Ashley Begley


Maps have, for centuries, guided us to great discoveries and new ways of thinking. However, as the SPARK Movement makes clear, these maps have largely evolved around points of interest based on the male experience. That’s why SPARK, “a girl-fueled, intergenerational activist organization,” created its Women on the Map app by partnering with Google’s Field Trip. And it’s free! If you want to download this awesome app (on either Google Play or iTunes), go to www.fieldtripper.com.

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.

SPARK’s message is clear: “It’s not that women don’t make history–it’s that we don’t honor them for it.” So for this initiative, SPARK contributors researched over 100 women from around the world to place the essence of these extraordinary female figures in our physical landscapes.

SPARK Women on the Map Trailer

On its website at sparksummit.com, SPARK lists just a handful of the thousands of historically—er, herstorically!—awesome women who deserve to be honored:

  • The Arpilleristas, a group of women in Santiago, Chile, who wove colorful tapestries to document the turmoil and violence of living under a dictator. 

APP Pic 1

  • Mary Ellen Pleasant, an activist and abolitionist who, among other things, dressed like a jockey to help slaves escape plantations in several states, including her hometown of San Francisco, California.

APP Pic 2

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

APP Pic 3

And SPARK wants you to rock your writing skills! Contribute to the Women on the Map historical database by essaying about a woman whose life inspires you. She could be someone (not still living) from your hometown or in ancient history. Write a 150–300 word bio about her life and accomplishments, being sure to include a specific location for SPARK to link her bio, and also include a photo or image to go along with it. E-mail to sparkteam@sparksummit.com, and write “Women On The Map” in the subject line.


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