Forgotten women achieve a place in history textbooks with this AR app

Margaret Johnson's 'Daughters of the Evolution' project unveiled Herstory at SXSW

Published On
Mar 13, 2019

Editor's Pick

Margaret Johnson, the Goodby Silverstein & Partners partner and chief creative officer, is behind a new app that debuted at SXSW promising to celebrate stories of women typically omitted from history textbooks.

The "Herstory" app comes under the banner of Daughters of the Evolution, a new organization formed by Johnson to focus on equality (named after the panel she presented last year at Cannes). Created in collaboration with Goodby for Women's History Month, it aims to address the fact that, according to research, 89 per cent of history textbook references are devoted to men.

The app uses augmented reality to show women's stories from history. When users scan an image of a male historical figure in "A History of US, Book 5: Liberty for All? 1820­–1860,"  it unlocks a story of an important female historical figure from that same period and superimposes it: for example, when a user scans President Zachary Taylor, they will see an illustration and story of Cathay Williams, the first African-American woman to enlist in the army (using a disguise and a pseudonym) during the Civil War, when women were prohibited from entering the military. The app currently features stories of 75 women from the 19thcentury.

“When I reflected on the fact that women are so underrepresented in the textbooks our children are studying, I started looking for a creative solution to address it,” said Johnson. “Technology and education are becoming more and more symbiotic, and augmented reality is the perfect tool to bring to life the missing stories of women’s role in history.”

Goodby enlisted the help of author and feminist historian Kate Schatz to identify a diverse selection of women and ensure the accuracy of the stories represented. “History absolutely has been his story, written by men for men,” said Schatz. “This app has the power to change that: It expands history and empowers the person using it. When you see someone like you in a position of power doing something that you’ve never known someone like that could do, it’s indescribable.”


Mar 13, 2019
Client :
Daughters of the Evolution
Agency :
Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Co-Chairmen :
Jeff Goodby
Co-Chairmen :
Rich Silverstein
Chief Creative Officer :
Margaret Johnson
Associate Creative Director :
Paul Nowikowski
Associate Creative Director :
Ricardo Uribe
Art Director :
Eleanor Rask
Copywriter :
Trevor Joplin
Designer :
Maria Vaquero
Account Director :
Melissa Buck
Account Manager :
Lexie Hartnett
Group Communication Strategy Director :
Dong Kim
Strategy Director :
Hayley Pardoe
Junior Brand Strategist :
Shaza Elsheshtawy
Director of Business Affairs :
Judy Ybarra
Business Affairs Manager :
Anna Diokno
Co-Director of Production :
Margaret Brett-Kearns
Director :
Reaa Puri
Director :
Breaktide Productions
Content Creative :
Mark Sandhoff
Content Creative :
Hanna Hegnell
Senior Producer :
Cassie Edwards
Associate Producer :
Jackie Kelly
Line Producer :
Sarah Kallas
Production Coordinator :
Phoebe Buckley
Editorial :
E-Level Films
Editor :
Graham Willcox
Assistant Editor :
Liz Norris
Audio Engineer/Composer :
David Michel-Ruddy
Audio Engineer :
Jody Scott
Senior Animator :
Stephanie Sanchez-Corda
Senior Animator :
Jason Jobe
Senior Post Producer :
Jack Whalen
Creative Technology :
GS&P Labs
Director of Creative Technology :
Troy Lumpkin
Creative Technologist :
August Bjornberg
Executive Producer :
Tena Goy

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