Time to roll up our sleeves and fix Wikipedia’s woman problem
That Wikipedia has a gender problem is old news. Like too many crowd-sourced things on the Interweb, a paltry 13% of Wikipedia’s editors are of the feminine persuasion.
Why is that a problem? Two BIG reasons:
1. Wikipedia is the encyclopedia of record for the human race, with the Pew Research Institute finding that 53% of adult Internet users use it for research. Heck, Wikipedia is the 6th most frequently visited website on the Internet!
2. And, unfortunately, when women are not there to oversee what’s going on, all sorts of crazy things go down. Like when a group of editors took it upon themselves to remove all of the female authors from the list of great American novelists and stick them on a sub-list of great American female novelists instead.
(Look, all they had to do is rename their list the great American male authors…)
As Wikipedia editor and Director of NSCAD’s Anna Leonowens Gallery Eleanor King said, the cold hard truth is that, for better or worse, “the ratio of the content providers is being reflected in the actual content itself,” meaning that the more men who add to Wikipedia, the more men have profiles on Wikipedia.
But last I checked, men only make up 50% of the population…not 87%!
Here’s the thing: Wikipedia doesn’t have a no-ladeez policy. In fact, the beauty of Wikipedia is that it’s a crowd-sourced encyclopedia, meaning anyone (Yes, anyone! Even you!) can contribute.
It’s just about rallying the ladies to do it. So let’s rally!
This Saturday, a group of renegade ladies and gents are organizing the first ever worldwide Art & Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon. Hosted at the Eyebeam art space in downtown NYC, the event is organizing women AND men to put their typing muscles to work editing and finishing incomplete profiles of women in the arts, media, academy, web culture and design. Know an amazing lady who deserves to be featured the Wikipedia canon? This Saturday is your day to add her!
And although the event originates here in NYC, if you have interest and an Internet connection you too can participate. Sign up for the Edit-a-thon on Google+, get in the mood by doing a quick Wikipedia editing how-to tutorial, and then get your list of awesome ladies ready.