Idealab
The Inspire campaign aims to increase gender diversity on Wikimedia.
Graphic by Vpseudo, freely licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Last month, the Wikimedia Foundation launched the Inspire Campaign, inviting community ideas to address gender disparity on the Wikimedia projects, with USD $250,000 of funding available through the IdeaLab.

A wealth of ideas

The first phase of that campaign started on March 4th and came to a close on April 1st. During that time, over 266 ideas were submitted, far surpassing the initial goal of 100 proposals.

About 629 people participated on the Inspire pages, suggesting new approaches, endorsing ideas, offering feedback, and discussing issues. While discussions about gender were active, the conversations were generally friendly and productive — thanks to the supportive Meta community, its administrators, and the new IdeaLab friendly space guidelines.

Ideas ranged from major, movement-wide initiatives, to smaller, local proposals. Some focused on existing Wikimedia workflows and projects, while others looked at outreach to other educational communities. Research was also a popular category. Ideas were submitted in multiple languages, and proposals involved communities from around the world.

Here are just three examples of proposals submitted during the campaign:

Gender-gap admin training: Focusing on the English Wikipedia, this idea seeks to provide training to site administrators on the topic of gender diversity.

Wikineedsgirls: This proposal hopes to engage female students in Ghana to edit the Wikimedia projects through training sessions, mentoring, and edit-a-thons.

Linguistics Editathon series: Through a focused series of edit-a-thons and instructor training at academic conferences, this idea will promote more participation on Wikipedia by linguists – a group with an above-average percentage of women.

What’s next?

In the next phases of the Inspire Campaign, we plan to develop ideas that need funding into viable grant applications, then award grants. In the second half of April, the Funding Committee and IdeaLab staff will apply a scoring rubric to proposals. In the first half of April, the Committee will discuss ideas, and publish feedback on the proposal talk pages. The grantees will be announced on April 30th.

There are still a lot of innovative ideas that don’t need funding and/or could use additional support, such as finding project leaders and mentors. We’d love to see those ideas move forward, so please keep developing them. We are committed to supporting gender-related work year-round, through all our grantmaking programs.

If you have questions about the process, you can post them here, or email grants-at-wikimedia.org.

Patrick Earley, Community Advocate, Wikimedia Foundation
Alex Wang, Project and Event Grants Program Officer, Wikimedia Foundation