Roundup: Universal Human Rights Month

December is Universal Human Rights Month, and yesterday was Human Rights Day, an internationally recognized day remembering the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948. On this day, governmental and non-governmental organizations around the world raise awareness for human rights issues, meet to strategize about solving them, and host events to commemorate the day. Among the freedoms laid out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is fair access to education. Here at Wiki Education, we believe in accessible knowledge, in improving public literacy, and in ensuring our popular sources of information are accurate. That’s why we support instructors in teaching their students how to edit Wikipedia as an assignment. Students channel the hard work they’re already doing in the classroom into a platform that shares academic knowledge with the world.

In Jennifer Olmsted’s Fall 2016 course at Drew University, Gender and Globalization, students edited Wikipedia articles on topics surrounding globalization as it relates to work, human mobility, well-being, and other issues related to human rights.

Student editors contributed to the article on the effects of war. War impacts culture, population, education, and economic stability of a country or people. Economic instability, destruction of social infrastructure, changes in the labor force, population loss, forced migration and displacement, decline of education, and dramatic political change all result from war, and these post-war effects can be long or short term.

Students also added content to the article on unpaid work. Unpaid labor is defined as work without monetary compensation, which may include work within the household, volunteer work, and interning. The United Nations Statistic Division conducted a survey that found women to be the majority of unpaid workers worldwide. Unpaid domestic work includes cooking, cleaning, caring for family members, and other drudgery. Unpaid work also includes reproductive (or childbearing) labor, the expectation that because reproduction relies primarily on female organs, women are to be the primary actors of this labor throughout their lives. The article touches upon histories of gender roles and gendered cultural values, and how they affect these dynamics. The gendered nature of unpaid work has implications for economic equality, as well as women’s participation in both private and public spheres.

Students in our programs contribute valuable information to Wikipedia, one of the most accessed sources of information out there, helping readers learn more about important issues. Through this process, they also gain crucial skills from understanding and contributing to a resource that they use all the time. If you’re interested in learning more about how to teach with Wikipedia, see our informational page or reach out to us at

Header image: File:UN General Assembly hall.jpg, by Patrick Gruban, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.



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