March was Women’s History Month, what better way to honor women working with GIS in government, education, non-profit and the private sector than by putting them on the map! Dr. Linda Loubert, Assistant Professor at the Morgan State University in US, is attempting to crowdsource a map of women who work in GIS in an effort to highlight potential role models and inspire more women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics fields. So far more than 5,000 women have geo-tagged themselves on Loubert’s map.
I sat down with Dr. Loubert for GovLoop’s State and Local Spotlight interview to talk about why this map matters.
Loubert began her mapping project as a way to show that there are women in the GIS field doing amazing things. “I wanted it to be known that there are women in these technical jobs,” said Loubert. “So I came up with this whole idea letting women put themselves to this map.”
“I don’t personally know that many women who are in GIS. I knew a few, and told them I was going to create the map,” said Loubert. “In my mind, it was only going to go out to those few people. I set it up so that people would be adding their city, state, and zip code. I hadn’t thought about the world. The world doesn’t have city, state and zip code like we do.”
The map is already full of entrants with GIS professionals categorized by their industry (academia, private sector, nonprofit, government, etc.). Most of the submissions so far are based in North America (mainly the United States), so Loubert said it would be nice to see the map filled out for the rest of the world.
“On the first day, I sent it out to some ESR folk and to the network for folks that I told in advance. It went viral that day,” said Loubert.
Loubert hopes the map will inspire the next generation of women in STEM. “If more women can see it, then maybe they too could learn this technology.”
“Women across the world are doing GIS. It is not just in one place, or one locale. It’s multidimensional. That’s what I want visitors to my side to come away with.”
If you enjoyed our GovLoop’s State and Local Spotlight interview, you can find more interviews under keyword “Emily’s Corner.”