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 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.
On 15th December 2018, FII and SHEROES co-organised a Wikipedia editathon on Indian women cricketers at SHEROES’s office in New Delhi. The editathon was organised to increase the representation of the women cricketers who are currently playing in the national team as well as to teach a new skill of creating and editing articles on Wikipedia to the youth.
Accordingly, we created a list of women cricketers currently playing for the national team and looked at their representation on Wikipedia. Only a few like Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur and Jhulan Goswami had exhaustive Wikipedia pages, the rest had stub pages with very basic and limited information.
We were a group of 17 editors in total, out of which 8 participated remotely. The event began with a live masterclass with the SHEROES Aspiring Writers’ community online and a discussion on the whys and hows of Wikipedia editing for new-comers.
After that, each participant chose one or more woman cricketer absent from Wikipedia, and started digging through the internet looking for interviews, news reports and e-books that mentioned their chosen cricketer to write comprehensive Wikipedia articles on them.
By the end of the day, the participants had edited 22 articles in English. See additional statistics here.
Merril Diniz from SHEROES also wrote about her experience of co-organising this Wikipedia editathon with FII and editing for the first time on Wikipedia on Youth Ki Awaaz. Read her article here.