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, globally only 9% of the editors on 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 organisations 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 October, we collaborated with The Centre for Internet and Society and co-hosted one on Indian Women Bureaucrats at CIS’s Delhi office. The edit-a-thon was aimed at creating/editing Wikipedia pages of Indian women bureaucrats who lack representation on the platform currently.

The CIS team prepared a list of women bureaucrats a week before the edit-a-thon, while most of the names did not have a page on Wikipedia, some had pages with very basic and limited information (stub pages). We used online resources for references.

We were a group of 4 participants in total. The event began with a discussion on Wikipedia and its gender gap and on the whys and hows of Wikipedia editing for new-comers.

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

By the end of the day, the participants edited a total of 8 Wikipedia pages in English.

  1. Anna Rajam George: Japleen
  2. K. Prithika Yashini: Japleen
  3. Ira Singhal: Tanya Kapoor
  4. Supriya Sahu: Tanya Kapoor
  5. Isha Basant Joshi: Tanisha Kapoor
  6. Sivakami P: Tanisha Kapoor
  7. Kanchan Choudhary Bhattacharya: Shinjinee
  8. Shakuntala Gamlin: Shinjinee

Participants’ testimonies on their first experience of editing on Wikipedia:

Shinjinee: Attending the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon was a great learning experience. I learned how to create and edit a Wikipedia page, so now I will be able to contribute towards bridging the gender gap that is there in the pages dedicated to important personalities.

Tanya: The Editathon was interesting. I did not know how to edit Wikipedia pages. It was for the first time that I was attending an Editathon organised by Feminism in India.
I learned new things about Wikipedia i.e. how to use citations, and insert paragraphs and links, etc. Overall, my experience was amazing. And will surely attend such editathons in future.

Tanisha: It was the first time that I participated in a Wikipedia editathon event. I am very grateful that I got this opportunity. I never knew that anybody can edit a Wikipedia page. Also, I learnt a lot of new things. I got to know how to create Wikipedia pages, what things one should keep in mind while editing a page. The coordinator was also very helpful. It was fun working with the members of FII. Will surely attend such events in future. It was a wonderful experience.

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