Projekt:En gemenskap för alla 2018/Stockholm Forum on Gender Equality

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WikiGap – how to redress the gender imbalance on Wikipedia

I’m really happy to be given the opportunity here at the Stockholm forum on Gender Equality to talk to you about WikiGap.

I have the privilege of being part of the Wikimedia Movement. And I’m here to tell you about what we do and why it concerns you and the various communities you represent at this conference. How much do you know about Wikipedia? For example, are you familiar with the Wikipedia vision?

Imagine a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. That’s what we’re doing.”

This is why hundreds of thousands of volunteers around the world contribute free knowledge to Wikipedia, in nearly 300 languages. So that everyone can come online and learn about the world and also add their knowledge to Wikipedia, on topics or languages currently missing information.

Think about culture heritage, academic topics, scientific discoveries, political debates from past and present, people, places and events - Learning about the world is empowering and access to information is a human right.

As much as half a billion people visit Wikipedia each month and it’s the only non-commercial top website in the world, driven by volunteer power.

Challenges. But I'm here to talk to you about Wikipedia's problem.

In the Wikimedia movement, we’re facing a set of challenges specifically concerning Gender Gap

  • 1 in 5 biographies on Wikipedia are about Women.
  • 1 in 10 editors on Wikipedia are women.

Even though these numbers are daunting, we have to keep in mind that Wikipedia was designed to be edited, to be changed. I always think of the openness of Wikipedia as an invitation to make a difference, and I’m also fortunate to have the skills to teach others how they can make a difference in the world’s largest encyclopedia.

I want nothing more than to share the power to edit Wikipedia with others. I'm part of a network of Wikimedians around the world who feel the same way.

I got a phone call in December on the topic of Wikipedia gender imbalance. And here's what came out of it.

The result is WikiGap - a global campaign.

  • The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Swedish embassies.
  • Wikimedia Sweden and other local Wikimedia groups.
  • Local partners around the world. Unesco and UN women.

Early this year - WikiGap was launched as a global campaign to close the gender gap on WikiGap, an invitation to make a difference and have impact on one of the largest websites in the world.

What is WikiGap? Platform to participate.

The underrepresentation of women in the case of Wikipedia is significant around the world and across languages. The idea of WikiGap is to offer a platform for people to engage with a very specific challenge to gender equality and give tools to take action so that more women are represented in the Encyclopedia.

In that way, WikiGap as a gender gap campaign combines the global level of shared knowledge resources with local community and expertise.

In this photo we see people preparing for a WikiGap event in Indonesia. And I'd like to share with you how a preparation might go.

Because Who? Who should we write about in WikiGap?

So, we know Women’s biographies are missing - but which ones? I need to know the name of her if I want to add her article, and do the necessary research on her life and achievements, to curate the content of her Wikipedia article.

Each WikiGap event has been designed around a specific theme. The theme helps frame the WikiGap and it also give guidance in the practical activity.

The photo is WikiGap Kigali - Participants. The very first of its kind. How did they do it?

On Twitter the Swedish embassy in Kigali asked under the hashtags #WikiWomenRw about notable Rwandan women who deserve an article on Wikipedia. This way, a list of 17 women were crowdsourced. Databases were also used, identifying a further 9 Rwandian Women missing articles. Identifying the gap, naming the missing articles, is an important first step and a resource in itself for more volunteer editors to keep working on it and collaborating with this group.

We've now seen around 50 WikiGap events, many took place on International Women's day.

Toolkit. Why we are here today and sharing this with you? WikiGap has not ended - it’s a change in progress and everyone is welcome to join and contribute. We have put our experiences in a toolkit for anyone to use.

  • Guide for event organizers.
  • Graphics to reuse and adapt.
  • Connections to Wikimedia groups.


Think about this: Who are the women you would like to see take their place on Wikipedia? Have you ever ended up on a Wikipedia article about someone very interesting but found the page lacking information or is not updated? How are the notable women from your community, history or field covered? Do they have photos on Wikipedia? Does the article have plenty of citations to reliable sources? Is it a high quality article that generations to come will be able to learn from?

WikiGap is about making women visible on Wikipedia and making history, and anyone can join. And in the words of Wikipedian and feminist Adrianne Wadewitz:

Who edit the Encyclopedia shapes the knowledge we choose to remember.

Thank you.