March 8th is International Women’s Day, a holiday around the world that celebrates the accomplishments of women in all walks of life, as well as a collective reminder of past and continuing efforts to eliminate inequalities faced by women.
On the Main Pages of Wikipedias in every language, there is a longstanding tradition of presenting a list of holidays and anniversaries. For a few, Wikipedia projects curate special content that is relevant to that event. Perhaps the most famous example is the epic April Fool’s Day Main Page sections.
In consideration of the current discussion and community organizing around the Wikimedia movement’s own gender gap, we’d just like to take a moment and recognize the great encyclopedic content that was showcased on Wikipedia for International Women’s Day.
The first standout entry is Mary Wollstonecraft’s sequel to The Vindication of the Rights of Woman, Maria: or, The Wrongs of Woman, which is assessed as a Featured-quality article on English Wikipedia and is the selected Featured Article of the day for March 8th, appearing front-and-center on en.wikipedia.org (until March 9th rolled around, in UTC time).
Off of the front page of English Wikipedia, there is also an in-depth interview with community leaders from WikiProject Feminism in the latest edition of community newspaper The Signpost. That WikiProject is one of several now devoted to women-related topics, with WikiProject Women’s History as a second great example.
While the topic of gender is relevant to the evolution of the encyclopedia anyone can edit, this kind of activity is also something that goes on every day at Wikipedia regardless of the topic: people who care about a subject show up to participate and share free knowledge.
International Women’s Day is about focusing conversation on one problem that we face as a global society. Hopefully Wikipedia can be a place where we can support that conversation by providing neutral, verifiable information written by women and men in collaboration.
Steven Walling, Wikimedia Foundation Fellow