Open up most elementary and high school history books and you’ll find stories of corruption, triumph, innovation, conflict, and resolution, that all have contributed to make the United States into the country it is today.
You’ll also see a lot of dudes.
Dudes in uniform. Dudes in top hats. Dudes with long neck beards. It’s not difficult to see that the majority of lessons revolve around men and the deeds of men. Studies show that less than 11% of history textbook references are devoted to specific women.
Now a new augmented reality app aims to bring the other 50% of the population into the picture. “Lessons in Herstory” aims to remind students that there are women to remember as well. If you scan an image of a male historical figure in A History of US, Book 5: Liberty for All? 1820–1860, the app unlocks a story of an important female historical figure from that same period. Scan President Zachary Taylor, and you’ll see an illustration and story of Cathay Williams, the first African-American woman to enlist in the army during the Civil War, when women were prohibited from entering the military.
Created by the ad agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners, the app currently features stories of 75 women from the 19th century. The agency worked with best-selling author and feminist historian Kate Schatz to identify a diverse selection of women and ensure the accuracy of the stories.
Daughters of the Evolution, a new organization from Goodby partner and chief creative officer Margaret Johnson, launched the app at SXSW. The project started last year as a panel at the Cannes Lions ad industry conference.