After learning the basics needed to create a Wikipedia article, the participants improved existing articles related to feminism, as part of a celebration of International Women’s Day
Knowledge is power: no one should doubt that. Although the possibility of contributing knowledge to the biggest encyclopedia of the world, Wikipedia, is free and open for anyone, about 91 percent of its editors are men. What, then, is the prospect for women in this story?
In order to engage women in the “wiki” universe, volunteers of the Wikimedia projects in Brazil, with the support of the Wikimedia Foundation, organized a workshop about Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects and proposed a joint effort for editing the encyclopedia in homage to International Women’s Day. The meeting took place on March 2nd at The Hub and gathered men and women interested in learning and practicing the editing of Wikimedia projects.
About 15 people attended the event, where they discussed the criteria for writing and publishing a Wikipedia article, the sources that may be considered reliable and the collaborative dynamic of editing. At the end of the workshop, the group dedicated themselves to improving articles related to women and feminism: “Women’s Rights” and “Grace Hopper” (“Direitos da mulher” and “Grace Hopper” in Portuguese) were two examples of such contributions.
“The steps for editing an article are simple, and from what I have observed in the meetup, anyone can learn them quickly,” said Fernanda Campagnucci, from Ação Educativa, who edited the article about women’s rights, her first contribution to the project. “But we live in a society where the sharing of knowledge is unequal and the technology is still often considered part of the masculine universe. It is this vision that we need to break.”
To discuss and overcome the lack of women collaborating on Wikipedia, the Wikimedia movement maintains a page (Gender Gap) to gather information, references and ideas on the subject, in addition to promoting activities like this workshop. With the goal of increasing women’s participation in the project, new women editors are encouraged to join mailing lists and online communities.
The Wikimedia movement in Brazil expects that this initiative in Sao Paulo will inspire volunteers from other regions of the country to help the event become regular every March, extending the debate about women’s participation in Wikipedia and lowering the gender gap. You can contact the Wikimedia volunteers in Brazil to obtain more information. Everybody is welcome to participate and organize upcoming events!
Fernanda Campagnucci (NGO Ação Educativa)
Translation by Tom and Cristiana Gonzalez