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From Wikimania 2013 • Hong Kong

About me and my project "Women edit"

I started working as a Wikipedia teacher for the German Wikimedia chapter in 2012. I was upset by the fact, that the number of women who contribute to the German Wikipedia is really low (around 9 %) while on the other hand the Wikimedia movement is considered to be one of the biggest NGOs in the world. I found this massive gender gap incredible, because I had always been surrounded by highly educated women who love to write, i. e. journalists, bloggers, students and post graduates.

In my workshops with women only groups I learned, that many women would love to share their knowledge, but that they were intimidated by the anonymity of the web. With the help of interested women from Berlin and the German Wikimedia chapter I initiated a monthly meeting called “Womenedit” in a computer centre for women. In these meetings we discuss methods to bridge the gender gap in the Wikipedia and help each other to find our way in the complex structures of Wikipedia. We also love to participate in certain discussions in Wikipedia, which we find too important to leave them to male Wikipedians only. One example is the article about the “One Billion Rising Movement” (a worldwide feminist demonstration) – which some Wikipedians did not find important enough for the world`s biggest encyclopedia. It was amazing to see, that our comments had an impact on the community and that the article was promoted on the main page the very next day.

Over the months we built up a strong network of Wikiwomen who support one another wherever possible – online and offline. I created a “Womenedit”-site in the Wikipedia as the central platform for our network and its allies in order to encourage everyone to discuss our issues in a decent protected space which seems to be very important for Wikiwomen. One of my personal highlights as a Wikipedia teacher was when one of the network’s members sent me an email on Christmas that she had just published her first Wikipedia article and that she was very proud of it. I hope that The “Womenedit”-network helps to improve diversity inside Wikipedia, because I believe that Diversity of opinion is the essence of any encyclopedia. Having equal representation from women will bring in wider perspectives and increase the neutrality of the articles.