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 November, we collaborated with The Centre for Internet and Society and co-hosted one on Indian Women In Law at CIS’s Delhi office. The edit-a-thon was aimed at creating/editing Wikipedia pages of Indian women lawyers and judges who lack representation on the platform currently.
The CIS and FII Team prepared a list of women judges and lawyers a week before the edit-a-thon, while most of the names did have a page on Wikipedia, they had very basic and limited information (stub pages). We used online resources for references.
— Feminism in India (@FeminismInIndia) November 25, 2017
We were a group of 6 participants in total with one person participating remotely. 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 lawyer or judge 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 10 Wikipedia pages in English.
- T. Meena Kumari: Carole
- Kalpana Kannabiran: Shinjinee
- Malavika Rajkotia: Shruti
- Leila Seth: Asmita
- Amita Dhanda: Shruti
- Janaki Amma: Shinjinee
- All India Federation of Women Lawyers: Carole
- Vrinda Grover: Mahika
- Shyam Kumari Khan: Alice
- Ratna Kapur: Mahika
Participants’ testimonies on their first experience of editing on Wikipedia:
Shruti: I had a great experience as I learned how to edit on Wikipedia and I also felt like I was a part of something bigger. I added to the profiles of the two Indian female lawyers on Wikipedia.
Alice: Never edited a wikipedia page before. Learned something new and it was a good experience!