Fixing Wikipedia’s gender gap: Women editors are coming together to address Wikipedia’s gender trouble

The Art + Feminism logo used for its campaign to promote more coverage of women and the arts worldwide. (Courtesy of Art + Feminism)

Wikipedia is overly filled with male editors. According to a 2011 study, 90 percent of editors are male, while only nine percent are women. As one of the top sites visited worldwide according to Alexa’s top 500 sites on the web, most of the information consumed is penned by males. University of Oregon’s Art And Feminism, a worldwide campaign, wants to change this.

“When you have that kind of editorial gender gap, then you don’t get coverage of topics that are important to a diverse audience.” Franny Gaede, head of digital scholarship services, said.

The goal of this event is to get people comfortable with editing Wikipedia articles and possibly making it one of their new hobbies. Women editors, faculty and students are invited to attend the 2018 Art and Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon. This event will take place Friday, April 13 from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Edmiston classroom at the Knight Library. Though this campaign focuses on supporting women, people of all genders and identities are invited.  

Gaede describes Wikipedia as an unwelcoming community for women, she hopes this event will change that idea. According to Gaede, as who became an editor during her own undergraduate studies, this event will give women the chance to receive support as editors and learn about being an editor on Wikipedia. The last event took place 2016. Gaede is new to the Oregon campus and ready to pick up where things left off.

The event will have a list of articles about women artists that either need a page or more information.

To be ready for the event, interested community members should register on the Art and Feminism event page and create a Wikipedia account. Attendees are encouraged to bring their laptops and ideas for sites that need an update or recognition.  

The goal of this event is to get people comfortable with editing Wikipedia articles and possibly making it one of their new hobbies.

The overall campaign started five years ago in Brooklyn, New York, by the Art + Feminism Collective. According to their website, the collective’s goal is to improve coverage of women, feminism and the arts on Wikipedia. According to their website, since March 2014, the Art + Feminism Collective has gathered at over 500 events to improve Wikipedia.

Since Wikipedia is one of the first sites to pop up when searching something according to Gaede, its coverage of topics needs to have neutrality. According to Gaede, there’s this perception that if it’s not on Wikipedia it doesn’t exist. As the starting point for most research, Gaede believes all stories should be told.

“These are really important topics,” Gaede said. “I think they deserve to have great articles written about them or, at the very least, an article written about them.”

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