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.
Since March is globally celebrated as Women’s History Month, FII collaborated with The Heritage Lab to conduct the global Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA). The edit-a-thon was aimed at creating/editing Wikipedia pages of Indian women artists and painters who lack representation on the platform currently.
KNMA and The Heritage Lab prepared a list of women artists 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 and the extensive KNMA library for references.
— Feminism in India (@FeminismInIndia) March 3, 2018
We were a group of 9 editors in total. The event began with a discussion on Wikipedia and its gender gap, the Art+Feminism campaign and on the whys and hows of Wikipedia editing for new-comers.
After that, each participant chose one or more Indian woman artist absent from Wikipedia, and started digging through the internet looking for interviews, news reports and e-books as well as through the KNMA books that mentioned their chosen artist to write comprehensive Wikipedia articles on them.
By the end of the day, the participants edited a total of 14 Wikipedia articles in English, out of which 4 were newly created articles. See additional statistics here.
Koyel Majumdar, a new editor, says, “Being an art admirer and a feminist by passion – this Wikipedia edit-a-thon was an overwhelming and inspiring experience; especially when it was about women in art from India! Co-creating a page on the legendary Sunayani Devi, from the Bengal School of Art, and from the enormously influential Tagore family, boosted my zeal to research about her and to know more of her incredible works! I would take this editing experience forward and will look forward to participate in events like this in future!“