Gender disparity in OSM participation has been well-documented by a number of gender equality advocates in our community. We know the immense benefits of participating in our community – the opportunity to shape the world’s map, technical training, access to a global network and professional opportunities. To participate, many of us enjoy privileges that are denied to millions of women and girls around the world, including digital literacy, access to the Internet, and the luxury of free time to edit OSM.

We will all be stronger – including the map itself – when the OSM community reaches gender parity. International Women’s Day presents an invaluable opportunity for us to rally around gender equality in OSM. This year’s theme is #PledgeforParity.

Because editing OSM gives participants a voice in how their communities are represented to the world, because digital literacy is a must-know skill, because women and girls around the world are disproportionately burdened with work that prevents their participation in “extra” activities, this International Women’s Day we ask every OSM community member around the world to contribute to gender parity.

These contributions can take many forms, including:

  • Teaching a woman or girl in your life how to edit OSM.
  • Hosting a mapping party/event specifically for women and girls. Promote your event on the International Women’s Day website here.
  • Mentoring a female member of the OSM community and encouraging her involvement in mailing lists and working groups.
  • Participating in the upcoming social media campaign – make your #PledgeforParity public with Facebook and Twitter cover photos and more.
  • Mapping for issues and advocating for the use of OSM tags of objects that disproportionately affect women, such as women’s health clinics or child care providers.

Our very own Alyssa Wright will be one of the keynote speakers at the International Women’s day Mapathon in Washington DC on March 8th. Participants will have an opportunity to discus topics around gender and mapping and come up with ideas of how to support Women and Girls. We will also be mapping HOT tasks that feature issues that disproportionately affect women.

We welcome your feedback, suggestions and ideas and are more than happy to assist anyone who would like to get involved or host their own event.

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