Women cheered on by Wikipedia
A month-long ‘edit-a-thon’ for women
To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8, Wikipedia is all set to organise a monthlong ‘edit-a-thon’, consisting of a series of editing workshops and meet-ups for women contributors, to “bridge the gender gap” in content on the online encyclopaedia.
While the event (from March 1–30) aims to correct the ratio (nine out of 10 editors on Wikipedia are men), it is not only about getting more women contributors to add recipes to Wikipedia. The objective is to encourage more women to contribute through articles related to women and expand the existing bits of information (‘stubs’) on Wikipedia. It includes translating English articles into various Indian languages.
T. Vishnu Vardhan, programme director of Access to Knowledge — which is funded by Wikimedia Foundation and mandated to grow the Wikimedia movement in India and Indian languages — at Centre for Internet and Society, Bangalore, said getting more women contributors was “simplistic”. The edit-a-thon, he said, was aimed at addressing other challenges too, about the “politics of content”, and the way information about women was getting captured, which was “deeply problematic”.
A click of the mouse is all that is required to change the presentation of facts. Recently, he said, on the site, a set of writers were moved from a section titled ‘American writers’ to a section titled ‘American women writers’, categorising them differently. There was “a politics of knowledge production” that reflects the subtle, covert undercurrents of attitude towards women, which needs to be addressed, he said.
Some people think women should use such online avenues to amplify their concerns. Partho Sengupta, professor, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, Bhubaneswar, where three Wikipedia workshops have been held, said women form half the workforce and contribute substantially to the gross domestic product (GDP), yet they had to ask for prerequisites and grapple with crime. Women today, unlike those in the 1980s, had access to technology and online media, and they must utilise the forum for their battles. “No one has given liberation on a platter,” he said.
While the month is dedicated to generating women-centric content by anyone anywhere, there will be ‘quick-start’ weekends where editors will get specific topics, with links provided, to begin writing.
Netha Hussain, Kozhikode-based medical student and Wikipedian, said weekend workshops had been organised on topics that lack content such as ‘women scientists’ and ‘women Parliamentarians’.
The event also includes on-ground editing workshops in cities including Mangalore, Bangalore, Panaji and Bhubaneswar.
For details, visit https://meta.wikimedia.org/ wiki/Women’s_History_Month,_ India-2014
- Editing workshops and meet-ups for women contributors in March
- Workshops in Mangalore, Bangalore, Panaji and Bhubaneswar