The #16WikiWomen Translation Drive

WLW_16WikiWomen_Nefertiti_wordmarkIn the run up to International Women’s Day on the 8th March, Wiki Loves Women is launching the on-Wikipedia translation drive #16WikiWomen.

The idea is for Wikipedians to take 16 days to make translate the Wikipedia biographies on 16 notable African women, into at least 16 languages.

The contest involves the translation of at least 16 articles into at least 16 African or international languages. The articles to be translated will be the biographies of African women. The idea is to translate each article into at least 16 languages. The list of language can be, but is not limited to:

  • International languages: Arabic, English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin, German
  • African languages: Akan, Afrikaans (af), Igbo, Hausa, Wolof, Tswana, Zulu, Xhosa, Shona, Swahili (sw), Yoruba (yo), Sudanese, Amharic (am), Tsonga, Ewe, Sesotho, Chichewa

The list of the 16 women who will be translated are:

  1. Malouma, the Mauritanian singer, songwriter and politician
  2. Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge, a South African politician. The best initial version is in French w:fr:Nozizwe Madlala-Routledge
  3. Cri-Zelda Brits, the South African cricketer
  4. Anna Tibaijuka, a Tanzanian politician and former under-secretary-general of the United Nations
  5. Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti,the Nigerian women’s rights activist
  6. Flora Nwapa, the Nigerian author who writes predominantly in Igbo
  7. Samia Yusuf Omar, Sprinter from Somalia
  8. Maggie Laubser, South African painter
  9. Fatima Massaquoi, a pioneering educator from Liberia
  10. Frances Ames, the South African neurologist, psychiatrist, and human rights activist
  11. Asmaa Mahfouz, the Egyptian activist. The best version is currently in Arabic : w:ar:Asmaa Mahfouz
  12. Yaa Asantewaa, the legendary former Queen Mother of Ghana
  13. Fatou Bensouda, the Gambian lawyer
  14. Martha Karua, the Kenyan politician
  15. Chinwendu Ihezuo, the Nigerian professional footballer
  16. Nassima Saifi, the Paralympian athlete from Algeria
Occupation of women born in Africa between 1900-1999. Feb 2017. Author:

Originally, we wanted to pick 16 biographies of African women that are rated of HIGH quality on Wikipedia. Such as 16 biographies at Good Article (GA level). But it was just not possible because there are actually only a handful of GA articles about African women. With most of the okay quality articles being about women from South Africa.

Percentage of women and men, born in Africa between 1800-1999, with article on Wikipedia. Author: as part of the SUPSI workshop on Wikidata
Percentage of women and men, born in Africa between 1800-1999 with an article on Wikipedia. Author:

So, instead, the articles were selected by asking a collection of Wikipedians for their nominations. At the same time, a collection of visualisations (see images below) were published. One of which related to the occupation of African women born between 1900 and 1999. It turns out that many biographies Wikipedia about African women tends to be about actress or singers. Reflecting on that observation, we decided to favor diversity both in country of origin and in professional occupation. The 16 biographies finally chosen vary a lot in terms of length and of quality, but we hope they will reflect many cases of notability across the continent.

How can you get involved?

You can translate one of these articles into a language that has a Wikipedia.

Get started here!