Critical issues presentations/Content Gender Gap, an International Movement

From Wikimania 2016 • Esino Lario, Italy
Submission no. 93
Title of the submission

Content Gender Gap, an International Movement

Author of the submission
Country of origin

United States of America


Outreach, Projects

  • content
  • gender
  • gap
  • women
  • systemic
  • bias
  • movement
  • edit-a-thon
  • international
  • conference

Content gender gap (CGG) is a systemic bias issue affecting all language Wikipedias. A group of editors have addressed CGG on the English Wikipedia in a unique way, creating almost 9,000 new articles within the first 5.5 months of the group's existence. The objective of WikiProject Women in Red (WIR) is to turn "redlinks" into "blue links". Its scope includes women's biographies and women's works, broadly construed. This presentation provides a historical perspective of CGG, an overview of WIR's history, strategy, processes, and then describes how to replicate WIR's success in other language Wikipedias, creating an international movement.

This presentation is meant for attendees who are interested in addressing the CGG in any language Wikipedia, especially those attendees who want to learn what works well in one language Wikipedia, with the hope that they could incorporate some or all of those elements in their home language Wikipedia. No background knowledge is necessary in order to benefit from this presentation or to participate in follow-on conversations. This presentation does not address the editor gender gap, and an editor's gender is addressed by WIR.

A historical perspective addresses other encyclopedias, and Wikipedia in particular, in the context of CGG. This addresses women's and men's biography ratios, article categories, and linkage. An overview of WIR addresses the preparation work prior to project launch at Wikimania 2015, and the initial issues encountered after launch. Next, the presentation reviews project talkpage management (>1,500 talkpage comments within the project's first six months). Branding development and lessons learned include project name, logos, and affiliations. Metrics management has been a challenge as technology has not kept up with the project's high volume.

WIR's strategy is to engage project members and nonmembers in edit-a-thons. Their focus changes once or twice/month. Some editors participate in all or most of the edit-a-thons while others participate only during a specific virtual event. Event planning takes place at the "Ideas Cafe". An event's redlist (a list of redlinks) is crowd-sourced. Each event has a custom invitation, delivered to editor and project talkpages. Custom-made thank you notes, which also promote the upcoming event, are delivered to event contributor talkpages. Our edit-a-thons -- all are virtual events, and some of them coincide with in-person events hosted by GLAM organizations -- have covered various themes, including women in leadership, architecture, science, religion, music, and so on. Other events include Asian Pacific American women, Black Women's History, Indigenous Women. March focuses on art work, artists, social reformers, activists, and feminists in collaboration with Art+Feminism. Historically, our edit-a-thons have run 3-21 days. Our "concierge service" is available during an event for editor questions. We address potential categories and article talkpage templates on each event's meetup page. WIR owes some of its success to its varied collaborations including sponsors (e.g. Smithsonian, Guggenheim, New York Academy of Science), Wikipedia's women's projects (e.g. WikiProject Women artists, Women scientists, Women writers), other Wikipedia groups (e.g. Art+Feminism), WikiEdu (e.g. Year of Science), as well as WikiProject X (project mainpage design), WikiProject Intertranswiki (translation work), and WIGI (gender gap index).

At the conclusion of this presentation, I'll propose three things: a wikipage to assist with coordinating WIR outreach with other language Wikipedias; brainstorming with Wikimania attendees to develop an agenda for an international thematic conference on CGG; and the convening of an international thematic conference within the following six months. This presentation's approach is to address the historic systemic bias issue related to CGG, describe one group's strategy to increase the number of women's biographies, and propose an international conference and movement in this regard.

Thank you.



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