Missing from history

Women five times less likely to write for Wikipedia, or be written about

A woman participates in a Wikipedia edit-a-thon. (Katie Booth/Women in the World)

Women are vastly underrepresented on Wikipedia, both as subjects and editors, but for International Women’s Day this Tuesday, Wikipedia editors from around the world are coming together for the third Art + Feminism ‘edit-a-thon,’ a project intended to increase the online encyclopedia’s coverage of women.

A study in 2013 found women comprised 16 percent of Wikipedia’s editors, and a 2015 study of the website found only 16 percent of biographies on Wikipedia were on women. At last year’s ‘edit-a-thon,’ 1,500 participants in 75 locations across 17 countries came together to write nearly 400 new articles, with subjects chosen from lists of notable female artists and activists compiled by Art + Feminism, known as Women in Red lists. In 2016, Art + Feminism is holding 125 events on every continent, the flagship event taking place last weekend at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Critics of the ‘edit-a-thon’ note that women aren’t actively discriminated against by the site, since Wikipedia is open to edit by anyone. But according to Sue Gardner, former executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, many women find Wikipedia’s interface user-unfriendly and the site’s environment both misogynist and contentious. Edits can be undone by other editors, and it’s often necessary for women to fight with others to insist on changes. Given the reality of Wikipedia’s gender gap, closing it will require that the site’s editors, male and female alike, to acknowledge the problem exists.

Read the full story at ABC News.

Related:

Women leading movements to champion equality on Wikipedia

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