We are all aware of the large reach and popularity of Wikipedia. However, what most people don’t know is that, according to a study conducted in 2011, only 9% of the editors at Wikipedia were women. And the percentage for India is even lower, just 3%.

Wikipedia recognises the systemic gender bias that is created because of factors such as these and thus enables its diverse range of users to edit and create Wikipedia pages, with reliable and authentic sources.

Feminism in India conducts regular Wikipedia edit-a-thons with different partners exploring various facets of gender in India, thus increasing content on women and marginalized communities on Wikipedia as well as training women to create and edit Wikipedia pages and hence increasing the number of women editors.

For July, we held an edit-a-thon on Indian Women In Politics: Wikipedia Edita-a-thon at our New Delhi office. The edit-a-thon was aimed at creating/editing Wikipedia pages of Indian women in politics who lack representation on the platform currently.

Carole Spary, assistant professor at the University of Nottingham who researches at the intersection of gender and politics in India was the major motivator behind organising this Wikipedia edit-a-thon on Indian women in politics. Carole prepared a list of women politicians and MPs and she especially choose women who have had at least 2 terms or are from underrepresented regions or marginalized communities. Some of the names had a page on Wikipedia, but with very basic and limited information (stub pages), but many did not have any representation on Wikipedia.

We also faced challenges finding information on the web in form of Google books, news links etc on these women politicians. We were directed to check out the members’ profiles on the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha website as well as some books by Carole.

We were a group of 10 participants in total. The event began with a discussion on the whys and hows of Wikipedia editing for new-comers.

After that, each participant chose one or more Indian woman politician absent from Wikipedia, and started digging through the internet looking for interviews, news reports and e-books that mentioned their chosen politician to write comprehensive Wikipedia articles on them.

By the end of the day, the participants had created and edited a total of about 20 Wikipedia pages in English.

Existing articles elaborated

  1. Rano M Shaiza: Ismat
  2. Saroj Kharpade: Asmita
  3. Ganga Devi: Japleen
  4. Sushila Kerketta: Saubhagya
  5. Sumati Oraon: Ayushmita
  6. Sushila Tiriya: Mitsu
  7. Anita Arya: Jasveen
  8. Usha Verma: Saubhagya
  9. Kumud Ben Joshi: Ayushmita
  10. Dil Kumari Bhandari: Kshitij
  11. Bonily Khongmen: Carole
  12. Noor Bano: Ayushmita

New articles created

  1. Sukhbans Kaur Bhinder: Japleen
  2. Minimata Agam Dass Guru: Carole
  3. Bibha Ghosh Goswami: Jasveen
  4. Sanyogita Rane: Ismat
  5. Mofida Ahmed: Ismat
  6. Anis Kidwai: Asmita
  7. Hamida Habibullah: Kshitij

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