Complex issues require collective action. Do you have an idea to increase gender diversity in Wikimedia projects? From now until March 31st, Wikimedia’s Inspire Campaign is looking for proposals to address gender issues on projects like Wikipedia.
Focus on gender diversity
A 2010 survey conducted by the United Nations University found that only 13% of Wikipedia contributors identified as female. The reasons for it have been much debated, and there are likely multiple contributing factors. What is clear, however, is that we’re still missing important perspectives in the Wikimedia movement, and that our content – the sum of all human knowledge that Wikimedians around the world aim to curate – has significant gaps as well. Many articles on notable women are still absent from Wikipedia, for example, and systemic bias remains an issue in the topics that do have coverage. Read more about the context and history.
Several initiatives have begun over the years to address different facets of Wikimedia’s gender diversity issues. Research and exploration is ongoing; some projects have created new spaces for cultural shifts; other initiatives like Art+Feminism and WikiWomen’s History Month are steadily generating more content to diversify coverage in important topics.
To truly increase diversity in our communities and content, we believe that the ecosystem needs an ever-increasing number of creative solutions. Partnerships, research, community organizing, socio-cultural and technical interventions should all be considered. To that end, we’ve launched the Inspire Campaign to proactively seek new ideas and project proposals aimed at increasing Wikimedia’s gender diversity.
Inspiring collective action
With the Inspire Campaign, our aim is to systematically encourage, connect, and support community efforts to increase gender diversity on Wikimedia projects. We would like to gather 100 new ideas and 500 participants during the campaign. To help turn ideas into action, we have set aside $250,000 in funding for grant proposals submitted during the month of March. Proposals will be selected with input from a committee of Wikimedia volunteers, and funded projects will be announced on April 30th, 2015.
Here’s how you can get involved:
- Create an idea: Anyone can start an idea. Capturing and sharing your ideas is a useful first step to forward our collective knowledge. Others can help you improve it or carry it forward.
- Give feedback on ideas: If you like an idea, use the “endorse” button. Improvement suggestions, concerns, or other feedback can also be posted on the discussion page.
- Share your skills: Create a profile to tell others what sort of skills or experience you can offer as a collaborator on potential projects. You can also browse all ideas and use the “join” button to offer to collaborate on a project of interest to you.
- Get people to help with your idea: If your idea needs participants, you can browse profiles in the IdeaLab and invite someone with relevant skills to join your project.
- Get funding to support your idea: If funding from the Wikimedia Foundation would help turn your idea into action, after creating your idea you can expand it into a grant proposal. Staff and funding committee members will review your proposal, ask any necessary questions on the discussion page, and let you know when a decision has been made.
- Spread the word: Share this campaign with others to increase our collective potential with more ideas and skills.
Anyone can submit a proposal for the Inspire Campaign – allies are an important and welcome part of this initiative! Also note that grant requests for time-sensitive projects that do not focus on the gender gap will still be considered during this period.
Are you inspired to help address Wikimedia’s gender gap? Do you have ideas or skills to share with others working on this issue? We invite you to join the campaign and help increase gender diversity in Wikimedia!
Siko Bouterse – Director of Community Resources, Wikimedia Foundation
Alex Wang – Project and Event Grants Program Officer, Wikimedia Foundation
María Cruz – Evaluation Community Coordinator, Wikimedia Foundation