WikiWomen Day participants

Sunday, 28th October 2012, was “WikiWomen Day” in Pune, India. The day brought together women from a variety of educational backgrounds, castes, creeds, religions, and age groups. The purpose of the gathering was to both educate women about the huge gender gap that exists within Wikipedia and to encourage women to contribute.

The workshop was held by “Wikipedia Club Pune” in PAI International Learning Solutions, Azam Campus, Pune, India. The workshop began at 10:00am with approximately 25 attendees. The first session explained the issues surrounding the lack of women editors. This session was an eye-opener for attendees about the huge gender gap within Wikipedia. Next, we offered a “How to get Hands-on on Wikipedia” program. The majority of attendees didn’t know how to edit Wikipedia, therefore, they had to start from scratch with tasks such as creating a username, and learning about Wikipedia policies and guidelines, and its principles, such as the Five Pillars. After a thorough review, we presented the basics of editing.

Later in the afternoon, there was a breakout session where everyone got an opportunity to interact with one another while enjoying a lunch of burgers and soft drinks. Following that, there was Indic language session where attendees were introduced to the multi-lingual aspects of Wikipedia. After that was the “Collaborative Contribution” session where we put our newly acquired skills to work. In this session, we expanded the “Helen Keller” article in Marathi. This page was originally started by an anonymous editor with a single line of text. Within a half hour, the entire page was developed, telling a comprehensive story of her life. This collaborative experience was marvelous and my favorite session of the day. After this session, we distributed participation certificates to everyone and encouraged our motivated attendees to continue editing Wikipedia.

Last but not the least, the workshop ended with the cake-cutting ceremony, which was also the launch for “Wikipedia Summit India 2013,” to be held in January. The Summit will focus on Wikipedia’s gender gap and provide action-oriented workshops focused on closing the gap.

Ketaki Pole (User:Ketaki Pole)