IWD2019 – What Women are Upto…

In celebration of International Women’s Day, I decided to join DC humanitarian organizations to map! The event was part of a global conversation around women, mapping and OpenStreetMap (OSM).

Being an attendee at the event taught me two things –

  1. The social impact of mapping
  2. Female empowerment through mapping

Carrie Stokes, the first Geographer of USAID Geo Center shed light on how visual mapping can provide a snapshot of a variety of issues in a single plane and help in assisting with the aid efforts for issues like child migration, Ebola response and preventing issues of Female genital mutilation (FGM). The talk was especially relevant for me since I come from a country where sustained geo-spatial mapping efforts have identified incidents like extremist violence activities and Polio outbreak cases. Mapping isn’t just about pinning locations it goes over and beyond with its social impact – with identification, assessment and restorative efforts.

The event was also facilitated by several youth volunteers – YouthMappers as they are called. The volunteers were young college students from universities across the U.S who volunteered at the event to teach the audience members on how to map on the OSM. It was heartening to see that more than 50% of the volunteers were female. With their skills they were dedicated to help address social issues, particularly those which girls and women face and, as a result, make the OSM platform more equitable. Like with other spaces, having more women mappers tremendous gender-perspective value to the data shared on OSM. Mapping hospitals and basic health care units for females, women toilets, breast-feeding areas are among the many examples.

I went into the event with a curious mind and hoped to learn the basics of the OSM platform but what I came out with was an acute respect for the important work that is being done by the people who are often not seen in the field.

  • Happy Women’s Day to everyone and Let Girls Map.