Wiki Education works to fix Wikipedia’s gender gap

By on March 8, 2021

Wiki Education works to fix Wikipedia’s gender gap

By on March 8, 2021

Wiki Education works to fix Wikipedia’s gender gap

International Women’s Day gives Wiki Education an opportunity to reflect on the work we’re doing to address Wikipedia’s gender gap. On Wikipedia, the gender gap manifests itself in two ways: content and contributors. Wiki Education has been making progress toward addressing both disparities.

When it comes to content gaps, you may be aware that only 18.72% of the biographies on English Wikipedia are of women. This content gap extends to coverage within those articles. Through Wiki Education’s programs, we work to create new and expand existing biographies related to women and their accomplishments.

Some of the new biographies our program participants have created in the last year:

  • Isabel Clarisa Millan Garcia, a Spanish archaeologist and a well-known curator at the National Archaeological Museum in Madrid.
  • Lesley-Ann L. Dupigny-Giroux, a climatologist known for promoting climate literacy.
  • Florence J. Murray, a doctor who innovated treatment of tuberculosis and leprosy in Korea.
  • Lucy Graves Taliaferro, a parasitologist who collaborated with her husband’s research for more than 50 years, including researching and teaching classes, but was never paid for her work.
  • Kathy Schick, an archaeologist who studies connections between technology and culture in human-crafted tools during the Stone Age.
  • Thankful Southwick, a Quaker abolitionist whose house was a top on the Underground Railroad for fugitive slaves.
  • Ilham Al-Qaradawi, a Qatari physicist who led the efforts in establishing the first slow positron beam facility in the Middle East region.
  • Angela Christiano, a molecular geneticist who researches treatments for hair loss.
  • Cari Borrás, a medical physicist who advocated for radiological protection standards in Latin America.

Some of the biographies our program participants significantly expanded in the last year:

  • Frances Harper, a suffragist, poet, and writer who was one of the first African American women to be published in the United States.
  • Carol Downer, a feminist who helped launch the self-help movement in the United States.
  • Mary Carson Breckinridge, a nurse-midwife who founded the Frontier Nursing Service to provide medical care to rural Kentucky.
  • Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, an Indigenous writer, musician, academic, and author of several books centering Indigenous experiences.
  • Marjorie Harris Carr, an environmentalist who led conservation efforts in Florida.
  • Dottie Wiltse Collins, a professional baseball pitcher who set multiple records in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

The gender gap isn’t just about content, however. It’s also about contributors. According to the most recent Wikimedia Foundation contributor survey, 87% of existing editors identify as male. It’s important to bring women’s voices to Wikipedia. With Wiki Education’s current impact — we bring 19% of all of the new active editors on English Wikipedia — we can make a meaningful difference in these numbers. In fact:

  • 83% of participants in our Scholars & Scientists Program in 2020 identified as female.
  • 64% of student editors in our Student Program in 2020 identified as female.
  • 65% of faculty who taught with Wikipedia through our Student Program in 2020 identified as female.

We are grateful for our program participants, who help us tackle Wikipedia’s gender gap, and for our funders, who help make this work possible. Join us!

  • If you’re a professor, assign your students to improve biographies of women as a class assignment with our support: teach.wikiedu.org
  • If you’re a professional, take one of our courses to learn how to improve Wikipedia articles yourself: learn.wikiedu.org
  • If you’re a supporter of our work, make a donation to help support our work: wikiedu.org/donate

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