Wiki Loves Women is a multi-country, multi-faceted project that aims at encouraging the contribution of content that celebrates the influence of women leaders, and reflects the realities faced by women and girls across Africa. The work is done in teams that are closely aligned with the local Wikimedia volunteer  group in each country. These teams work with content organisations to contribute freely-licensed information, texts, images and media to Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects. Wiki Loves Women was initiated for the WikiAfrica movement by the principals of Wiki In Africa in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut and funded in 2018 by the Wikimedia Foundation.

Why Wiki Loves Women

Gender inequality is rife across sub-saharan Africa. Although much progress has been made to address these inequalities in the workplace and within society, there remains a systemic bias towards profiling women, especially with regards to information, news and knowledge sources, both online and offline. The project focuses on bridging two significant gaps on Wikimedia projects – women and Africa – both in terms of content about these subjects and in terms of participation by people from these groups.

The gender gap has long been known to exist in computer-related occupations, and indeed the Wikimedia community was aware of this issue from the very early days. The first large-scale publication that attempted to quantify the gap was a survey conducted by the United Nations University and published in March 2010. The study of Wikipedia’s contributor base showed that it has barely 13 percent women.

The Wiki Loves Women project has been designed to leverage Wikipedia’s role as a global repository for the dissemination of information to achieve accessible and fair online representation of notable women.

The aim is to encourage the contribution of existing researched and verified information to Wikipedia with the intent of redressing the systemic bias online about women. The donated data and content will specifically focus on women’s contribution to the political, economic, scientific, cultural and heritage landscape, as well as the current socio-political status of women, in each country.

The project will achieve its aims by working with existing gender equality-focused civil society organisations to release their intelligence onto Wikipedia and by working with established Women’s groups and existing Wikipedia Volunteer groups to disseminate this information among the Wikimedia projects. In addition, the project will encourage the activation and support of new and existing editors (both female and gender-sensitised male Wikipedians) in the focus countries.

Project Goals

If this project is successful then we will have:

  1. Increased content: a substantial increase in the amount and type of content on the Wikimedia projects about women in four countries in Africa;
  2. Visibility and understanding of the Wikimedia projects: the project activations, events and work with the partners will have significantly raised the level of interest in, and usage of, the Wikimedia projects in these four countries

This is done by:

  1. Encouraging donation: Promoting and facilitating the sustainable donation of information, data and media from focus-related suitable organisations (content partners) within the four countries and globally;
  2. Community development: Providing support and activities to activate, galvanise, and increase the editors within the focus countries by involving content partners, network partners and working with existing editor groups; and
  3. Facilitating the process: Training, supporting and mentoring between four to eight skilled Wikipedians in Residence (one for each country) as facilitators to achieve the above goals.

Wiki Loves Women was conceptualized and run by Isla Haddow-Flood and Florence Devouard at Wiki In Africa in collaboration with the Goethe-Institut and supported in 2018 by the Wikimedia Foundation.  In 2016, the Wiki Loves Women project was activated in Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria. In 2018 it was activated in Tanzania and Uganda. The project documentation and its outcome are published under CC BY SA 4.0


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