Tagging in Support of Women and Girls

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Girls at the Mugumu FGM Safehouse [1]. Visited by the Crowd2Map Tanzania project, this is a safe house and vocational training centre for girls refusing FGM in Tanzania


Mapping in support of women and girls is exactly the same as mapping in general with one important difference: the mapper keeps in mind that many issues disproportionately affect women and girls and even a few issues are relevant to women and girls only. This web page is intended to highlight some of the ways mapping can make a difference in the lives of women and girls and discusses some of the most common objects and tags that mappers who would like to pay special attention to mapping in support of women and girls can make an extra effort to use in the course of their usual mapping activities.

Many of the tags and objects you may not even have realized can have an important impact on improving the lives of women and girls. We also know that these tags do not cover the wide range of health and other services that are available to women and girls around the world. If we are missing a pre-existing tag or you would like to propose a new tag, let us know.

Health Services

Women and girls have specific health needs, including but not limited to reproductive health services. At the same time, many women face financial and physical barriers to accessing appropriate health care. Mapping these services can help raise their profile and make it easier for women and girls to access critical health care.

Some specific tag keys and values related to health services:

Tag Element Count Comment
amenity=hospital node area Institutions for health care providing treatment by specialised staff and equipment, and typically providing nursing care for longer-term patient stays.
amenity=clinic node area A medium-sized medical centre, typically without admission of inpatients.
amenity=doctors node area A place you can go to get medical attention or a check up.
healthcare:speciality=abortion node area An abortion clinic is a medical facility that specializes in performing abortions. Such clinics may be public medical centers or private medical practices.
healthcare:speciality=fertility node area Fertility clinics are medical clinics that assist couples, and sometimes individuals, who want to become parents but for medical reasons have been unable to achieve this goal via the natural course. Clinics apply a number of diagnosis tests and sometimes very advanced medical treatments to achieve conceptions and pregnancies.
healthcare:speciality=gynaecology node area Gynecology or gynaecology is the medical practice dealing with the health of the female reproductive systems (vagina, uterus and ovaries) and the breasts.
healthcare=midwife node area A midwife is a professional in midwifery. In addition to providing care to women during pregnancy, birth, and postpartum period, midwives may also provide primary care related to reproductive health, including annual gynecological exams, family planning, and menopausal care.
amenity=baby_hatch node area (In earlier times one could drop babies in front of churches or monasteries, but this is not allowed any more). If the mother does not come back to pick up the child it will be given to adoption. The mother can not be charged for that.


Globally, girls face significant cultural, financial and physical barriers to attending and completing school. Over 62 million girls around the world are not in school, and millions more struggle to stay in school through the completion of their secondary education. Mapping schools can help parents make informed decisions about which schools can offer space spaces and latrines for their daughters and can elevate discussions about the distances many girls -- and boys -- must travel for their education.

Some specific tag keys and values related to education:

Tag Element Count Comment
amenity=school node area An institution designed for learning under the supervision of teachers


UN Women estimates that “35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their lives. However, some national studies show that up to 70 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner in their lifetime”.

A 2012 study in New Delhi also found that 92 percent of women reported having experienced “some form of sexual violence in public spaces in their lifetime”.

Key factors that affect women and girls’ safety in public spaces include street lamps and emergency services such as police and emergency phones.

Some specific tag keys and values related to safety:

Tag Element Count Comment
amenity=police node area A station from which the police operate.
node area A facility that provides social services. When combined with the other listed tags it indicates a shelter for victims of domestic abuse. (Only publicly known shelters should be mapped.)
emergency=phone node A telephone dedicated to emergency calls.
lit=yes way Is this feature lit? e.g. for a particular road, does it have street lights? This tag can be particularly useful when planning a route.
highway=street_lamp node A single pole with one or more lights to illuminate the street.


Some miscellaneous tag keys and values:

Tag Element Count Comment
amenity=kindergarten node area Describes a place where for young children offering education and supervision. In Germany, new tags designed for education, support and integration.
amenity=childcare node area Describes a place where children of different ages are looked after.
polling_station=yes node area A place where one can cast a vote in government sponsored elections.
wheelchair=yes node area Wheelchairs have full unrestricted access. entry: stepless, rooms: stepless, toilet (if any): accessible and cabin is wide enough to fit a wheelchair next to the toilet
amenity=toilets node area A publicly accessible toilet.
changing_table=yes node area A place to change diapers of babies. Typically combined with toilets, restaurants, shops,...
node A vending machine that dispenses feminine hygiene products, for example menstrual pads. You can also add a fee=yes/no tag to indicate if there is a cost.
highway=bus_stop node area A bus stop is a place where passengers can board or alight from a bus. Its position may be marked by a shelter, pole, bus lay-by, or road markings. Some bus stops are unmarked and known only by word-of-mouth or from information provided on a timetables.

Modifiers for Other Tags

There are gender specific tags that can often be applied to other tags.

Proposed Tags

There is a dearth of facilities and services for women and girls that have been tagged in OSM. For example, as of January 2016, a search of the global OSM database found the following:

  • Only one building labeled as a “Gender Based Violence” facility
  • Only four buildings labeled as “Domestic Violence” facilities
  • Only 45 facilities labeled as “Women’s health clinic”, the majority of those in the United States
  • Only 27 facilities or offices labeled as “Family planning”

To facilitate increased tagging of facilities and services that benefit women and girls, we propose the following and welcome additional tag proposals:

Tag Element Count Comment
social_facility=domestic_violence_facility node area A place where victims and survivors of domestic violence receive shelter and/or services. These facilities should only be mapped if they are sign-posted or have their addresses available online or in other public channels. Insider knowledge should not be used to map facilities that purposely keep their location private to protect their beneficiaries.
social_facility=gender_based_violence_facility node area A place where victims and survivors of gender-based violence receive shelter and/or services. These facilities should only be mapped if they are sign-posted or have their addresses available online or in other public channels. Insider knowledge should not be used to map facilities that purposely keep their location private to protect their beneficiaries.
healthcare:speciality=womens_clinic node area A health clinic or facility that specifically offers services to women and/or girls.
healthcare:speciality=family_planning node area A health clinic or facility that offers family planning services.
healthcare:speciality=maternity_waiting_shelter node area A shelter near to a health clinic where women can rest and receive care before giving birth. These shelters are intended to increase the number of births at health centers and are largely found in Zambia.

See Also