#WikiGap campaign set to tackle gender gap on Wikipedia

Students and Wiki-editors from Riara university pose with the Deputy Ambassador Michael Hjelmåker and staff from the Embassy of Sweden in Nairobi. PHOTO| COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The initiative was introduced in 2018 by Sweden in 54 of its embassies across the globe.
  • In Kenya, the Swedish embassy trained 28 volunteers on how to become WikiEditors.

As of 2018, there were four times more articles about men than there are about women on Wikipedia which is the world’s largest online and user generated encyclopaedia thus the gnawing female representation gap.

#WikiGap campaign aims at closing the gender gap on Wikipedia and making the internet more gender-equal by adding articles about prominent Kenyan women and training new WikiEditors.

The initiative is in line with Sweden’s Feminist Foreign Policy that aims at strengthening women’s and girls’ rights, access to resources and improves their representation in this case, the representation of women on Wikipedia.

The initiative was introduced in 2018 by Sweden in 54 of its embassies across the globe. In Kenya, the Swedish embassy trained 28 volunteers on how to become WikiEditors. When they called out for women nominees to feature on Wikipedia, they received more than 700 submissions.

As a result of this and dedicated effort by the WikiEditors, there are now more Kenyan women represented on Wikipedia. Some of recent entries of Kenyan women on Wikipedia include:

Selina Ogweno Olwado – Chairperson for Children Sickle Cell Foundation- Kenya

Wandia Njoya – Lecturer at Daystart University

Sophia Abdi Noor MP from Ijara County and founder of Womankind Kenya

Dr Wanjiru Kamau- Rutenberg – Founder of Akili Dada

Dr Kizzie Shako- the only female forensic surgeon in Kenya and winner of the Upcoming Human Rights Defenders Award 2017

‘NO SLIVER BULLET’

Speaking during the International Women’s day 2018, the Ambassador of Sweden to Kenya H.E Ms.

Anna Jardfelt noted that although the #WikiGap initiative was no silver bullet, it would increase the visibility of women as successful contributors to the society.

They would serve as role models, a vital inspiration for upcoming generations of boys and girls.

“ Women represent half of the world’s population and half of the world’s potential talent.

If we want a future of smart thinking, constructive challenges and innovations as well as the economic growth that follows, we need to leverage the talent of the whole world, not just half of it.

I believe that today is only a start of a movement which will live on.”

WikiGap 2019 begins on International Women’s Day on March 8.

This will also be the starting point of a month-long international online competition.

During the competition, volunteers participating in WikiGap between 8 March and 8 April will gain points when they help to increase the representation of women on Wikipedia.

The WikiGap volunteer with the most points stand a chance to win great prizes, which includes a scholarship for participation at Wikimedia's yearly conference Wikimania, which will be organised in Stockholm 14-18 August 2019.

 

 

 

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