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 monthly 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 August, we themed our monthly edit-a-thon around Independence Day and hosted one on Indian Women Freedom Fighters at our New Delhi office. The edit-a-thon was aimed at creating/editing Wikipedia pages of Indian women freedom fighters who lack representation on the platform currently.
We prepared a list of women freedom fighters a week before the edit-a-thon, while most of the names had a page on Wikipedia with very basic and limited information (stub pages), only one did not have a page on English Wikipedia (but in Marathi Wikipedia).
We also faced challenges finding information on the web in form of Google books, news links among others on these women freedom fighters.
Our #WikipediaEditathon profiling #IndianWomenFreedomFighters in honour of #IndependenceDayIndia is underway at our office! Stay tuned! pic.twitter.com/WufLJnvKPQ
— Feminism in India (@FeminismInIndia) August 19, 2017
We were a group of 7 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 freedom fighter absent from Wikipedia, and started digging through the internet looking for interviews, news reports and e-books that mentioned their chosen freedom fighter to write comprehensive Wikipedia articles on them.
By the end of the day, the participants had created and edited a total of about 12 Wikipedia pages in English.
- Godavari Parulekar: Aishwarya
- Violet Alva: Mahika
- Avantibai: Aishwarya
- Kanaklata Barua: Avantika
- Yashodhara Dasappa: Asmita
- Parbati Giri: Shivani
- K.P. Janaki Ammal: Mahika
- Gulab Kaur: Japleen
- Shyam Kumari Khan: Kshitij
- Tarkeshwari Sinha: Mahika and Shivani
- Kaumudi Teacher: Avantika
- Doddamane Mahadevi Hegde: Asmita
Additional statistics can be found on the P&E dashboard here.