Why Does Sexism within OpenStreetMap Matter?

Room: Track 2 - Panels and Workshops

Friday, 17:15 UTC
Duration: 60 minutes (plus Q&A)

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  • Airin Akter
  • Courtney Clark

Experts estimate that only 2-5% of OSM contributors are women. The results of the 2021 OSM Foundation survey starkly remind us of the drastic gender gap within the project as well as the vicious sexist, racist, and white supremacist attitudes that exist among some individuals within the “community”. While it may be convenient to believe that data are neatly objective packets of information, and that an edit to OpenStreetMap is the same no matter the gender identity of the editing person, countless historical and present-day examples provide clear evidence that data cannot be decoupled from human bias and perspective. At the same time, it is highly encouraging that courageous and innovative groups and members of the OSM community have taken bold steps to increase the participation of women and other minorities.

Panelists will discuss how structural inequalities and individual instances of sexist and misogynistic language and behavior present significant barriers to women’s participation. Women experience these inequalities differently depending on their context, privilege, and background, and the panel will address these issues from an intersectional lens. Panelists will also recommend steps that organizations, boards, communities, and individuals can take to be anti-sexist members of the OSM ecosystem.

The panel will be moderated by Maggie Cawley, Executive Director of OSM US. The panelists are:

  • Airin Akter, Everywhere She Maps Regional Ambassador, YouthMappers
  • Hanna Krüger, member of the German OSM chapter and the OSMF Microgrants Committee
  • Anisa Kuci, member of cOSMopolIT and OSMF LCCWG and Project Manager of OSM for Wikimedia Italy
  • Chomba Chishala, Outreach Ambassador, YouthMappers

This panel is organized by the Everywhere She Maps program of YouthMappers.