We rely on Wikipedia for everything from looking up just who that Stephen Hawking guy was that recently passed away, whose entry has 10,205,628 page views, to the history behind St. Patrick’s Day, which has 1,434,987 page views (both as of March 17, 2018). With so much information in Wikipedia on many different people, places, and things you would think that there was an equally diverse authorship behind those articles; however, did you know that 91% of Wikipedia editors are men?! According to a 2011 Wikimedia Foundation survey men make up the majority of Wikipedia editors.
This gender imbalance is also at the root of underrepresentation of women in Wikipedia articles themselves. There have been many coordinated efforts to correct this imbalance, including a well-known push in the sciences led by Emily Temple-Wood—who started editing Wikipedia at age 10 and has become one of his most vocal advocates for inclusion. In the same vein, the Art + Feminism edit-a-thon began in 2014 to address the representation gap in art articles and editors.
Addressing this gender gap in Wikipedia is a critical project in our society as it is a key resource used by students, faculty, and the public at large, and if women are not present and discoverable within its digital pages, then their accomplishments and contributions to our society are silenced and damaging stereotypes are reinforced. As librarians at an academic institutions, we have resources sitting on our shelves and within our databases that can be crucial aids in helping to address the representation bias in Wikipedia. Our space is an ideal location to help draw in potential new editors, give them hands-on experience and training that will hopefully serve them for years to come.
William & Mary Libraries is proud to bring back the Art+Feminism Wikipedia edit-a-thon on Tuesday, April 10th from 12:00pm to 4:00pm and Wednesday, April 11th from 4:00pm to 8:00pm during National Library Week in the Swem Library Learning Center. We welcome all genders, identities, and levels of editing experience. Optional Wikipedia editor training will be held on April 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in Swem. Sign up here. Visit the Research Guide for more information or contact the hosts with questions: Elizabeth DeZouche firstname.lastname@example.org or Michael Harris email@example.com.