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News — 05 March, 2020

International Women’s Day 2020: #EachforEqual

International Women’s Day (#IWD2020) celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, while calling on the world to accelerate progress towards gender equality.

Across every aspect of humanitarian and development work, women and girls are disproportionately vulnerable and disadvantaged compared to men and boys. In the case of the digital gender divide, the underlying problem is not that women are excluded, but that they are not explicitly included in programs designed to address their needs. HOT needs to explicitly include women and girls in all areas of our activities and ensure HOT actively contributes to a gender-equal world.

As a global community, we cannot resolve gendered issues if we cannot see them. The work HOT does to create data in spaces where gender data doesn’t exist can help to visualize and address problems that disproportionately affect women. To ensure this potential translates into reality, we need to ensure women and girls are represented both as mappers and on the map itself.

Three of HOT’s Gender Achievements Since #IWD2019

  1. HOT completed our first-ever gender project, “Women Connect”, in partnership with YouthMappers. We partnered with Crowd2Map in Tanzania, GAL School in Peru, OSM Zambia, and the global YouthMappers network to champion gender-inclusive programming and create map data for gendered issues, including gender-based violence, gendered access to healthcare and other social services, political participation of genders, and more. In the last year, we trained 741 individuals,48% of whom were women, in open mapping technologies, contributing more than 5 million edits to the map. Even more important, we saw shifts in mindsets at the community-level, where map data illuminated the need for more individuals, both men and women, to be champions for gender equity within their communities.
  2. We committed to gender sensitivity and inclusivity initiatives in our 2019-2021 Strategic Plan, including evaluations of staff and trainings. Despite this, unfortunately gender balance in our staff team stayed the same from 2018 to 2019, at 44% female and 54% male.
  3. We ensured the HOT community and the HOT Summit are friendly spaces governed by a Code of Conduct and with a team available to support any Code of Conduct complaints. Additionally, an Inclusivity Committee was added to the HOT Summit Working Group to ensure the Summit reflected our commitment to an inclusive environment.

What can we all do this #IWD2020 to ensure HOT’s work leads to maps being made for, by, and about women?

The theme of #IWD2020 is ‘Collective Individualism’: our individual actions, conversations, behaviors, and mindsets have an impact on our larger society. Many in the HOT community already embody this mindset, but we must continue to ensure that community discussions are inclusive and welcoming, and that collectively we create a gender equal map. We are highlighting five ways members of HOT can support this year’s theme:

  1. Map and Validate for gender projects: HOT has started working with Educate Girls. For every year that a girl is enrolled in school, she is more likely to avoid early marriage and survive childbirth, and less likely to suffer domestic violence or be trafficked., She will likely have a higher future income and have a smaller, healthier family and will be 50% more likely to immunize her kids. She’ll leave her mark on future generations, as climate scientists rank girls’ education as number six out of 80 actions that can tackle global warming. And she’ll be twice as likely to educate her own girls — keeping the cycle going. Yet despite these proven benefits, millions of girls around the world are still excluded from school because of their gender. In India, more than 4.1 million girls are kept out of the classroom. Educate Girls is supporting 1.6 million girls in rural India in gaining access to education, and you can help them by mapping and validating villages in rural India.
  2. Recommend speakers for the HOT Summit: Identify any women you think would make great speakers for the HOT Summit, and send a recommendation email to
  3. Nominate female Voting Members: The HOT Voting Membership is presently less than 30% female. If you are a HOT Voting Member, take the opportunity to nominate a woman for Voting Membership when nominations open in April. If you do not know any suitable people to nominate, there will be an open process for self-nominations. Consider supporting a female candidate who is interested in joining the membership.
  4. Engage in the conversation on social media: Share with HOT and the global community how you are working to improve gender equality in the OSM community and why access to technology is essential. Tag @HOTOSM on Facebook, @hot.osm on Instagram, or @hotosm on Twitter, and join the GeoChicas group on Telegram.
  5. Join the HOT Community Working Group by emailing

Three of HOT’s Gender Commitments for #IWD2021

  1. To ensure that HOT community grants continue to improve diversity in the OSM community, we commit to adding gender targets to each community grant HOT provides.
  2. HOT will support more community grant applications for projects mapping issues and causes related to gender.
  3. HOT commits to at least a 50% female staff team by the end of 2021.

gal 4(2).jpg Female students in Peru learning to map during HOT’s Women Connect Project in 2019