As the new Wikimedia Women in Red Intern at the University of Edinburgh, my role is to encourage the editing and creation of new content around women on Wikipedia. Through a series of monthly workshops, we aim to bring inspiring female role models to prominence and combat the erasure of women’s achievements from history.
Throughout history the publication and control of information has perpetuated systemic silencing of voices from marginalised groups. The Women in Red initiative aims to increase diversity among content on Wikipedia and fight against the current content bias held by one of the most viewed sites in the world.
Looking at the figures around gender on Wikipedia, it’s not pretty. It’s estimated that fewer than 20% of regular contributors to Wikipedia are women and, as of 2020, just over 18% of the biographies on English Wikipedia are about notable women. Highlighting these voices is hugely important not only within the University community but also to society as a whole. If Wikipedia aims to be the “sum of human knowledge” then why is it that the content on the site is not representative of the diversity of the population as a whole?
I am sure all of us have at some point engaged with content on Wikipedia, likely in the early stages of researching a new research project or as a way of finding collated information about a topic. You’ve probably used it to prove a point to your mates down the pub, settle the argument your family erupted into at the dinner table when you went home or nosey at the personal lives of prominent figures.
Given that Wikipedia is so prevalent in our everyday lives, it is crucial that we scrutinise and address these imbalances. Our Women in Red editathons provide a chance for people to come together to celebrate women’s experiences and incite impactful change by researching and writing about the achievements of notable women.
I am personally looking forward to becoming further involved in the community at The University of Edinburgh and encouraging students, staff, and the wider community to come together and collaborate whilst working to readdress the balance of content. As a student myself, it is encouraging to know that the University is committed to promoting equality and gender parity through such an initiative.
Anyone with a computer and access to the internet is able to edit Wikipedia. We have the power to tip the balance of this entrenched bias through the creation and control of information. We have the power to create role models for a future generation of female innovators by highlighting the fantastic achievements of women throughout history. We have the power to share knowledge and do good.
This is only possible if you utilise your ability to edit and get involved by providing a voice to those currently missing from history. We want to celebrate their experiences and create positive change.
Meetup 35 – Wed 8 April 2020 – Women of Scotland
The thirty-fifth meetup was an online editathon focused on Women in Medicine missing from the free encyclopedia and using the Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women as our main resource.
A training webinar took place on Wednesday 8 April 2020 at 1pm-2.30pm GMT which was recorded for others to watch synchronously or asynchronously as suits their schedule.
New pages include:
- Emily Charlotte Thomson (c. 1864 – 21 August 1955) was a medical practitioner, co-founder of Dundee Women’s Hospital and one of the first women admitted to professional medical societies in Scotland.
- Peggy Boyd (9 November 1905 – 21 September 1999) was one of Scotland’s first Air Ambulance nurses, serving in this role during World War Two. She was a trained nurse and midwife. She set up a nursing home in Paisley, Scotland.
Meetup 36 – w/c Monday 20 April 2020 – Women of Climate Change and Sustainable Development – an Earth Day Event
The thirty-sixth meetup will be on online editathon. A training webinar will take place on Monday 20 April 2020 1pm-2.30pm which will be recorded for others to watch synchronously or asynchronously as suits their schedule. Questions/problems can be Tweeted to @emcandre or added to the Facebook page or emailed to email@example.com if you use neither social media platforms. Join us to write more fabulous women onto Wikipedia, the go-to information site for people around the world. We’ll be there from 12:45pm to 5pm on Monday 20th April with a view to publishing our new pages on Wednesday April 22nd 2020 (Earth Day itself) so join us when you can this week but especially on the afternoon of Monday 20th April and stay as long as you want to/need to (some people get VERY into writing their articles when they get started). Everyone is welcome.
- FIRST register your place on Eventbrite
- Join the event here if you have a Wikipedia account.
- Watch the webinar at 1pm on Mon 20 April.
Meetup 37 – w/c Monday 11 May 2020 – Women of the NHS
The thirty-seventh meetup will be on online editathon.
A training webinar (link to follow) will take place on Monday 11 May 2020 which will be recorded for others to watch synchronously or asynchronously as suits their schedule. Questions/problems can be Tweeted to @emcandre or added to the Facebook page or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org if you use neither social media platforms.
Join us to celebrate the lives and contributions of more fabulous women onto Wikipedia, the go-to information site for people around the world. We’ll be there from 12:45pm to 5pm on Monday 11th May with a view to publishing our new pages all week by 5pm on Friday 15th May 2020 so join us when you can this week but especially on the afternoon of Monday 11th May for training and stay as long as you want to/need to afterwards. Everyone is welcome, no experience necessary.
- Booking links will be posted here nearer the time.
If you want to find out more or get involved in our monthly workshops more information can be found here:
Or to contact us please email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Women in Red events are open to everyone. Challenge the system and become a Wikipedia content activist!
Laura, welcome to Women in Red. Roger and I never dreamed there would be a Wikimedia Women in Red Intern and yet here you are. Bravo! I wish you every success in your new role, and I’m available if you ever want to chat.
Co-founder, Women in Red
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