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
A group of women run a service for women which allows wheelchairs to be hired, reports K. SARUMATHI
A fractured leg had left Usha immobile, confining her to her home for three months. She had errands to run, children to look after, functions to go to, but none of these tasks she could complete sitting at one place. Buying a wheelchair for a short time was out of the question.
She could neither afford the cost. As her problem was only temporary, she would not have any use for it later. Had she known about the Wheelchair for Hire programme of Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy Women’s Association, she would have had a comfortable recuperation period and ease of movement.
Run by women for women, this association has rendered 25 years of service towards emancipation of women, mostly from the underprivileged class. Among its other initiatives, wheelchair and walker for hire is a programme the association fervently promotes.
“It was started five years ago. The idea came from one of our members, Sundaramalli, who due to age-related problems became wheel-chair bound for some time. Once she was able to walk she had no use for the wheelchair. It was then that an idea to rent out wheel chairs to people with temporary immobility struck her. The association thought it a good proposition and thus the programme began,” says Bhooma Srinivasan, president of the association.
The wheelchairs are rented out on a monthly basis for Rs. 200 and in case someone needs it for just a day or two, they have to pay Rs. 50. The association also gives walkers on rent for Rs. 100 a month and Rs. 25 for a shorter period.
“The rates are brought down according to the paying capacity of the people who approach us. We also take a refundable advance from first-timers, who must present an identity proof, generally ration card, before taking a wheelchair or walker home,” Bhooma adds. The association presently has three wheelchairs and three walkers for rent. “We had eight earlier, but due to the constraint of storage space we gave a few away.
We donated two wheelchairs and two walkers to Anandam, an old age home in Avadi. As people take it for a short period of time, there is no problem of non-availability,” she says.
Even if all wheel chairs and walkers are rented out at the same time, the association’s parent organisation, the Women’s Indian Association, has few more to give out. “People can come and collect the wheel chair or walker from our office in Virugambakkam, Thiruvanmiyur or R.A. Puram.”
Muthulakshmi Reddy Association also conducts environment awareness campaigns, road safety and first aid training for girls, literacy programme for slum children in which they give scholarships to poor girl students and conduct leadership programmes for them. They also undertake a nutrition programmes in 50 anganwadis across the city.
For more details, contact Bhooma Srinivasan at 94442 51013.
CONTEST FOR WOMEN, CHILDREN
The district administration is going to conduct competitions for women and children on January 27 and 28. Winners will be given prizes during the ‘Sikkolu Sambaralu’, which will be organised between January 29 and 31.
Competitions will be conducted under categories such as traditional attire, hair styles, and ‘mehandi’ designs’ in municipal grounds on January 27 morning. In the afternoon, healthy baby contest will be conducted. Competitions will also be conducted in flower decoration, ‘rangoli’, and songs. Srikakulam
Additional Joint Collector R.S. Rajakumar reviewed the arrangements on Monday at the municipal grounds and asked women to participate to make the event a grand success.
Contemptible values on women prevalent in society are responsible for the violence against them, said Poet Salma.
Speaking at a gathering of school students facing public exams here on Wednesday she said that students should nurture a habit of reading literary works apart from their studies and boys should learn to respect women around them.
“Education should be in such a fashion that nurtures your virtues,” she said.
“Muslim community from which I hail from has little awareness about the importance of education. I myself dreamt a lot about my life. One day I would crave to become a doctor and on another day I would want to become an engineer or a scientist. I even dreamt of becoming a writer indeed. But I had to drop out of school when studying 8th standard. Even boys were not an exception. Elders would love to see boys failed in plus two so than they can soon be sent to gulf countries for some menial work.
Now things are different. You can see school and college. But movies and facebook are distracting students from studies. A director who took several cinemas on love subject has forcibly separated his daughter from her lover recently. Hence you should give importance to education,” Salma said.
Underscoring importance of education she added that a huge earthquake that shook Gujarat a decade ago had thrown several affluent people on streets.
“Only those who had education were able to reconstruct their lives successfully as education cannot be destroyed but will be respected everywhere,” she pointed out.
The programme nicknamed ‘padikarkal’ was organized by Arunai Engineering College. Platform speaker Dindigul I.Leoni in his address asked students to be relaxed and confident while attending exams.
“You can see your image clearly reflected in only calm waters ,” he said. Other speakers include lyricist Piraisoodan, poet Nandalala and platform speaker Manikandan.
College Vice Chairman E.V.Kumaran was present in the event.