. If you want to learn more about costumer Comme des Garçons Rei Kawakubo, the femicide or the Madonna whore aggregator, Dutch Wikipedia is of no use. The List The missing “female” themes are long: thousands of female artists, politicians, scholars, and subjects that women mainly (or only) have to deal with, such as shaming. This phenomenon isn’t just happening in the Netherlands: It is among the 1.7 million bios on Wikipedia around the world, she says. Only 20 percent About women.
This encyclopedic gap, also known as the gender gap, is being addressed from Sweden through the WikiGap project. Wikimedia, the organization behind Wikipedia, and the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, known for its feminist foreign policy, campaign in dozens of countries every year on International Women’s Day (March 8). Swedish embassies organize an afternoon writing afternoon in which only “female” subjects are written. Since the start of the project in 2017, sixty thousand articles on women and “women’s issues” have been added or expanded. Of them 5650 this year.
Wikimedia Netherlands has campaigned against the shortage of women and subjects since 2015 and has been affiliated with WikiGap since 2017. According to project leader Denise Jansen, the action is necessary to fulfill Wikipedia’s promise: a place where all the information can be found. Includes these topics.
Swedish Ambassador to the Netherlands, Anika Markovic notes the size and extent of Wikipedia’s worldwide reach – about 200 million pages look. “Wikipedia is an influential platform that gives a distorted view of society, because four out of five articles are about men.” Another factor is that Google uses data from Wikipedia, says Jansen. As a result, the consequences of the gender gap also leak into the world’s most used search engine.
There are several reasons for this gender gap. For example, there is less general information about women: they are less popular in history books, less in the media and less biographies about women. “If there are no sources, we cannot write about them,” says Janssen.
Dr. Kawthar Darmoni, PhD in Gender Sciences and Director of the Institute of Knowledge for Emancipation and Women’s History Atria, says that women appear less frequently in (history) books. “Traditionally, women are expected to care for the family and children, while men can show themselves in public life. These gender stereotypes persist and women are still not sufficiently represented in male-dominated sectors such as science, politics and business.”
Another factor, according to Darmoni, is that the focus on “The Chronicles Written by Men” is often on soldiers, politicians, and the clergy: the positions that men traditionally held. Jansen also believes that skewed growth is a result of “the social perception that what women do is less important.”
Wikipedians are often men
Wikimedia and the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs are also creating a link with the composition of volunteers who complete Wikipedia: about 90 percent of them are male, also in the Netherlands. Institutes suspect this influences subject choice. According to Jansen, this discrepancy is due to the fact that when it came out in 2001, it was “tech-savvy guys” that signed up. “We suspect he was never straightened.”
The position of some Wikipedians may play a role as well. Volunteers regularly talk to each other about their contributions, and these comments are sometimes candid. “I have a feeling that women are enjoying these discussions less,” Janssen says.
Wikipedia 48-year-old Laura Hendrix acknowledges this pattern. She suspects that women may be “shocked by Wikipedians who vehemently oppose her”. For example, you sometimes encounter discussions on inside pages where there is a discussion in which a woman is “drowned out” to bring about unwanted change. She also knows some of the women she suspects of being arrested for discussions.
To combat skewed growth among volunteers, WikiGap’s second goal is to attract more women to contribute to Wikipedia. For example, Wikimedia The Netherlands and Eritrea and the LGBTI Information Center IHLIA organize afternoon writing afternoons and there are special ‘technical days’ for women. Yet without much influence on the male-to-female ratio among Wikipedians.
There are also other gaps that need to be filled in on the platform. Darmoni, Jansen, Laurier and Markovich also emphasize that there is no diversity in areas such as race. Therefore, Wikimedia is committed to the Netherlands For more articles About Suriname and the Caribbean, among others. Atria draws attention to the history of black women. Laurier is also involved: She has worked on pages about famous black women such as writer Ya Jayasy and anti-racism activist Naomi Peter. “More women is the first step. You also have to create diversity in terms of gender, class and culture,” says Darmoni. Janssen: “As in society, things are not going as fast as we want them to, but there is progress.”
A copy of this article also appeared in NRC on the morning of April 12, 2021