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

Today we’re pleased to announce a new group of grantees working to increase gender diversity in Wikimedia projects. In early March, we announced the Inspire campaign, an initiative to generate new ideas to address Wikimedia’s gender gap. Now we’re following up on our commitment to fund a first set of actionable projects coming out of the campaign. From 266 ideas came 42 grant proposals eligible for consideration. After careful review by a committee of volunteer Wikimedians and gender-focused experts, 16 projects have been recommended and approved for funding.

Several of these projects will focus on organizing events and leveraging social and professional communities, institutions and partnerships to increase content about women on Wikipedia. Other projects will aim to engage women from New Zealand to Ghana to contribute to Wikimedia projects, test approaches for training allies to better support gender diversity on-wiki, and create mentorship systems for women.

Meanwhile, recognizing that there’s always more to learn, two research initiatives will work to increase our knowledge about women who aren’t yet contributing, and to understand more about trends in Wikimedia’s gendered biographical content. We’re particularly pleased to see so many projects considering intersectionality, as they work to improve Wikipedia’s gender diversity across various contexts, and to be supporting so many new project leaders who identify as women.

The Inspire grantees are:

  • Wikipedian in Residence for Gender Equity – $27,100 to support the creation of the first Wikipedian in Residence role focused on gender equality. West Virginia University Libraries was inspired by the efforts of Wikipedian Adrianne Wadewitz and aims to carry out the vision of gender equality in Wikipedia for years to come, through the establishment of this role.
  • Gender gap admin training – $9,000 to pilot the Ada Initiative’s Ally Skills Workshop with a group of Wikipedians. If successful, this project may grow to create a scalable program for training Wikipedia administrators to more skillfully moderate discussions that have gender implications.
  • Survey women who don’t contribute – $4,000 to survey women who don’t contribute to Wikimedia projects about their experiences and perceptions, in order to prioritize future strategies for engaging and retaining more women.
  • Wikipedia Gender Index – $22,500 to gather, automate, graph and observe gender trends in Wikipedia’s biographical articles over time, through a publicly viewable website with open-data downloads.
  • Wikipedia Buddy Group – $8,050 to pilot a peer editing group for mentorship between college and high school-aged women contributing to Wikipedia.
  • Wiki Edit-a-thon Work Parties – $750 to pilot a social model for anyone to create and host Wikipedia editing parties. Initial experiments will focus on women in English and Spanish-speaking communities.
  • More Female Architects on Wikipedia – $14,150 for an international collaboration between groups in Germany, Australia and the United States, to increase content about women in architecture and design on Wikipedia.
  • Linguistics Editathon series: Improving female linguists’ participation and representation on Wikipedia – $3,736 to run a series of edit-a-thons targeting women in the linguistics community, to improve biographies of female linguists, linguistics stubs, and under-documented languages.
  • Wikipedia edit-a-thon for the Aphra Behn Society – $900 to introduce an academic group tightly focused on issues of women and gender in the period 1640-1830, to contribute to Wikipedia. This project, too, was inspired by one of the group’s founding leaders, Wikipedian Adrianne Wadewitz.
  • Wikineedsgirls – $2,596 to organize outreach aimed at supporting women students in Ghana to engage with Wikipedia and sister projects.
  • Gender in East Asia Wikipedia Editing – $700 to draw on the scholarly resources of Furman University in the United States, to strengthen and expand coverage of gender in East Asia on Wikipedia.
  • Full Circle Gap Protocol: Addressing the Unknown Unknowns – $7,000 to pilot an approach for bringing feminist scholars together to identify specific content gaps and relevant resources, and then connecting them with classrooms to address systemic bias through Wikipedia assignments.
  • Wellington Wikipedia Meet Up – With Childcare! – $3,150 NZD for Wikipedia editing meet-ups at New Zealand’s Dowse Art Museum, to create Wikipedia content about women artists. Providing childcare is key to supporting women’s attendance at these community-building events.
  • Just for the record – 4,000€ to expand the Art+Feminism event in Brussels into a series of editing events focused on topics of gender-equality on Wikipedia
  • Let’s fill the gender gap Workshops – 6,000 CHF to organize workshops to empower women to contribute to Wikipedia articles, focusing on biographies of Swiss women.
  • Empowering Afrodescendant women in Wikipedia – $6,280 to create more articles about Afrodescendant women on Wikipedia as part of the AfroCROWD initiative.

We’re excited to see these 16 initiatives kick off over the next few weeks. As they go forward, project teams will be blogging and sharing updates on their grant project pages. We hope you’ll continue to engage with them and offer your experience and ideas!

A number of ideas and grant proposals from the campaign are still in development and will need more time before they’re ready for implementation or funding. Over the coming year, we’ll continue to welcome and advise the creators to sharpen their plans based on community feedback. Our Project and Event Grants and Individual Engagement Grants programs will be happy to continue to receive new or adjusted proposals aimed at increasing gender diversity during regular funding cycles along with all other topics.

Gender diversity is a complex issue and gaps aren’t likely to be solved in 1 or 2 months, but we look forward to having an impact by focusing together, seeding ideas to grow into actionable plans over time, and continuing to experiment with new solutions.

This campaign itself began as an experiment in proactive grantmaking, and as with all good experiments, we’re learning a lot as we go. A full analysis of the campaign is in progress, and in coming weeks we’ll be sharing findings from a traffic analysis and a participant survey. Stay tuned for another post in mid-May on what we learned from Inspire, what worked, what didn’t, and recommended next steps, as we continue to seek ways to innovate, support, engage and have collective impact on strategic issues across the Wikimedia movement.

Siko Bouterse, Director of Community Resources, Wikimedia Foundation
Alex Wang, Program Officer, Wikimedia Foundation

Inspire graphic by Vpseudo, licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0.