Only 1 in 10 Wikipedia editors is a woman. Unfortunately, the underrepresentation of female perspectives is quite common within the tech world. In order to help achieve gender equality in content creation and dissemination, Wikipedia Editathons are held as a way of bridging the gap and encourage female editors to increase the coverage of women’s topics.
The Internet Society India Delhi Chapter, in partnership with the Women Special Interest Group and supported by the Wikimedia Foundation, organized the 1st Global Editathon “Girls in ICT” on 28 April, 2018. Various Chapters and groups participated in this event to increase Wikipedia pages about Asian women who have contributed to any technology-related fields.
“Women are seriously underrepresented in Wikipedia’s content,” says Amrita Choudhury, treasurer of the Internet Society India Delhi Chapter. She has over 17 years of experience in IT and the Internet industry and is a member of the SIG Women team. “Exact figures vary depending on which research you’re reading, but only around 17% of individuals profiled on Wikipedia are women.”
What Chapters were involved and how did you work together?
“As devoted to the #ShineTheLight movement, we decided to collaborate with the SIG Women, whose main interest is the empowerment of women in technology issues, and with the support of the Wikimedia Foundation, we organized an online Editathon involving the South Asian Chapters. Eleven women from various Chapters – Bangladesh, India (Delhi and Trivandrum), Nepal, Sri Lanka, and South Korea participated to the Editathon both in English and in local languages.
Few days before the event, SIG Women held a webinar to teach how to create a Wikipedia page. The Internet Society provided participants with an online video conferencing platform to discuss during the session. Apart from that, we held our own discussion on how to participate in the Editathon and selected the women whose pages we wanted to create. On the day of the Editathon all the participants attended the event remotely and the APAC Chapter Development Manager Subhashish Panigrahi came online to answer any queries regarding the Wikipedia editing. Subhashish is more than an expert on Wikipedia content development. In the past, he managed a flagship program to grow the reach and contribution of Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects in the Indian subcontinent. During the one-day event, eleven female volunteers were trained to create articles about women in science and engineering.
How do you measure the success of the event?
By the end of the training all participants acquired new skills. They:
- Became aware that many women in ICT do not have a dedicated Wikipedia page
- Learnt Wikipedia editing for the first time
- Created new content in local languages such as Tamil and Korean
- Researched and collected details about ITC pioneer women from their region and built their Wiki pages. Here are some of them: Vanitha_Narayanan, Debjani Ghosh, Minal Sampath, Kanchan Amatya
The Internet Society SIG Women is a neutral space for projects, initiatives, and stakeholders that advocate for greater inclusion of women in technology and contribute to gender equality in the field.