Submissions/Towards bridging the gender gap in Indian Wikimedia community

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This is an accepted submission for Wikimania 2013.

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Submission no. 
3005
Subject no. 
B12
Title of the submission
Towards bridging the gender gap in Indian Wikimedia community
Type of submission
Presentation
Author of the submission
Netha Hussain, Jadine Lannon
Country of origin
India/Canada
Affiliation
Wikimedia India
E-mail address
nethahussain@gmail.com, jaylanns@gmail.com
Username
User: Netha Hussain, User: Bluujayy
Personal homepage or blog
Blossoming Soul
Abstract

Wikipedia's Gender Gap is more pronounced in the Indian editing population than in the general editing population, and very little has been done to investigate this phenomenon. Using research findings from Jadine's interactions with female Indian editors and Netha's experiences working with the Indian Wikimedia community, we will discuss context-specific barriers and challenges that hinder Indian women from contributing to Wikipedia, what can be done to overcome these barriers, and how the Wikimedia community in India has attempted to bridge the gender gap. We will also make recommendations on activities that the Wikimedia community can undertake to address the gender gap.

Detailed proposal

The Editor Survey conducted by Wikimedia Foundation in 2011 found that only 3% of the Indian respondents were female. While the number of female editors in the general population may have significantly increased over the last few years due to the increased awareness of the gender gap in both Wikimedia and non-Wikimedia communities and the intensification of the WMF's focus on bridging the gap, the Indian contributor populations continue to face minimal growth in female participation. We speculate that this may be because current explanations of why women do not edit Wikipedia do not take into account the context-specific challenges faced by Indian women.

The gender gap issue is a global problem that has to be approached differently depending upon the social, cultural and political dimensions of the region, and solutions for gender-based problems differ from country to country. Any efforts to resolve the gender gap in region-specific Wikimedia sub-populations that do not take into account the contextual nature of the challenges faced by women in these populations are at risk of recreating the same exclusionary trends that already exist within these groups. The research and activities undertaken in India can be reduced to a meta level in order to be used as the basis for pilot projects for similar activities in comparable Asian countries.

Our presentation will briefly touch on the following topics:

  • Factors that prevent Indian women from actively participating in contributing to the Wikimedia projects: In this section, Jadine will briefly summarize past research that has been done on the barriers and challenges that women face when they participate in the editing of Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. Some of this research can be found on the Gender Gap Meta-wiki page here. She will then present her research findings on the barriers and challenges faced by Indian women in particular. The information presented will be qualitative anecdotal, experiential and opinion data gathered through one-on-one interviews with current women editors in India.
  • What do Indian women feel could be done to encourage more editing?: This section will also be based on Jadine’s research findings, and will specifically focus on activities and strategies that the Indian Wikimedia community and WMF could undertake to increase female participation and editor retention in the Indian editing communities. The qualitative information presented will include both direct anecdotal, experience and opinion data from women editors as well as inferences based on the analysis of the interviews.
  • Measures taken by the Wikimedia India Community to bridge the gender gap: The Indian Wikimedia community is very receptive to women volunteers. Women participating in editing and outreach are usually encouraged and warmly welcomed by the community. WikiConference – India, the conference of Indian Wikimedians, had a separate track for gender gap where the participants discussed about the possible solutions for closing the gender gap in Indian Wikimedia movement. Edit-a-thons were conducted from time to time to bring women editors together, and give them opportunities to network with their peers and add content to the articles about notable women. Many Indian women joined WikiWomen’s Collaborative, the global initiative for bridging the gender gap, and wrote about their experiences in volunteering for Wikipedia. Outreach programs were conducted exclusively for women in various universities across the country to help women to use Wikipedia as a tool for their studies, and to engage them in open knowledge movement. Netha will glance through the important events conducted in 2011 and 2012 to increase the participation of women in Indian Wikimedia Community.
  • Recommendations of what Wikimedia can do to increase Indian women's participation in the English and Indian language Wikimedia projects : Netha will give recommendations on closing the gender gap based on her experience in working with various women’s groups and free knowledge communities. She shall also share the ideas gathered from the WikiWomenCamp and Ada Camp D.C.
Track
WikiCulture and Community
Length of presentation/talk
25 Minutes
Language of presentation/talk
English
Will you attend Wikimania if your submission is not accepted?
Yes, depending on scholarship approval.
Slides or further information (optional)
to be uploaded
Special requests
None


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