Wikipedia workshop promotes female tech participation during Women’s History Month

Campus organizations collaborated over the weekend to host a Wikipedia-editing@@ seminar geared toward supporting womens’ roles in web technology. The purpose of the seminar, presented in honor of Women’s History Month,@@ was to encourage women at the University of Oregon and in the Eugene community to become Wikipedia contributors and editors, teaching them the skills necessary to create a credible entry.

The two-day seminar — which was hosted by the ASUO Women’s Center, UO Center for the Study of Women in Society, UO Libraries and the UO School of Journalism and Communication @@all [email protected]@— included a Wikipedia editor’s workshop lead by Wikimedia fellow Sarah Stierch on Fri., March 8, and a mass editing session in Allen Hall on Saturday March 9.@@[email protected]@

According to Stierch, who trained as a fellow at Wikimedia — the nonprofit that runs — as low as nine percent of its editors are women. In addition, Wikimedia reports the average contributor is a single, white, child-free male between the ages of 20 and 30 years old. In her opinion, this statistic raises questions regarding availability and bias of Wikipedia articles relating to women and women’s issues.

“It’s critical for everybody to contribute their knowledge,” she said. “When a very specific demographic of people have been writing that knowledge, as they have been writing textbooks … it’s really critical that we start to change that.”

Throughout Saturday’s editing session, students and community members created and contributed to articles regarding historically significant women and women’s issues, doing their part to reduce the Wikipedia-gender skew. According to the Wikipedia page designed for the group, the day’s final project resulted in nine new articles about historical females.

“In the year 2013, we’re still having to deal with this challenge of women having their history, even their voices heard,” she said. “It’s depressing, and we’re trying to change that.”

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Sami Edge

Sami Edge

Sami is the Editor In Chief of The Emerald. Former intern at Willamette Week and aspiring international investigative reporter. Swimmer, writer, dreamer, reader, thinker, explorer and drinker of strong coffee.