6 reasons to join Sydney's Women in Wikipedia edit-a-thon

9 March 2018
Celebrate Women's History Month, address Wikipedia's gender skew
University staff, students and community will address Wikipedia's gender gap while celebrating Women's History Month at our Women in Wikipedia: 2018 Sydney Edit-a-thon.
A woman calling 'edit'

For the second year in a row, University of Sydney staff will be joined by students, locals and an eager online community to address Wikipedia’s gender skew and ensure more women are represented among its entries – one edit at a time.

Hosted by Sydney University Press and the University of Sydney Library, the Women in Wikipedia: 2018 Sydney Edit-a-thon will be held on Tuesday 20 March at the Fisher Library on campus, joining similar events around the world held during Women in History Month.

Sydney University Press Editorial Officer Denise O’Dea has outlined six reasons why the University’s community and the broader public might like to take part.

1. Wikipedia has a woman problem

“Women are seriously underrepresented in Wikipedia’s content,” Denise said.

“Exact figures vary depending on which research you’re reading, but only around 15 percent of individuals profiled on Wikipedia are women.”

2. Wikipedia has another woman problem

“Women are also underrepresented among Wikipedia editors,” Denise explains.

“Somewhere between 10 and 15 percent of Wikipedia contributors identify as women, and the numbers are lower again when it comes to women of colour and women from non-Western countries.

“While an edit-a-thon can’t solve all the reasons why, we hope our event gives people the skills they need to get started as Wikipedia editors, and the enthusiasm to keep going.”

The 2017 Women in Wikipedia edit-a-thon at Sydney, people at computers

Last year's Women in Wikipedia Edit-a-thon volunteers at work. 

3. You don’t have to be in the Library, or even Sydney, to join in

“Everyone is welcome to come along to Fisher Library on 20 March (RSVP via Eventbrite),” Denise said.

“We’ll have plenty of reference works and staff who are expert at helping people to track down, assess and synthesise information.

“We’d also love people to join in remotely – we’ll be live-tweeting the event from @sydneyunipress and can provide advice and support to people if needed.”

4. The women themselves

“Last year we added entries and information on a wide range of women, include Indigenous elder, historian and activist Doreen Kartinyeri, journalist Lydia Ellen Tritton, artist Sara Colquhoun, poet Mary Barton, colonial artist Mary Morton Allport, academic and feminist activist Renate Klein, medical historian and public health academic Ding Dyason and plant pathologist Dorothy Shaw just to name a few,” Denise said.

“This year we’re focusing on Australian women writers, scientists and scholars – and are also keen to include more movements, organisations and events that aren’t currently covered on Wikipedia. We’re happy to receive suggestions, too!”

5. It’s easy to get involved

“On the day there’ll be a short training session for new Wikipedia editors, and a chance to get stuck into some editing,” Denise said.

“We’re keen to show participants that there are many ways to contribute to Wikipedia, whether you have a little time or a lot: you can fix problems with grammar and spelling, add stronger citations, flesh out a short article, or write a whole new article.

“We’ll be providing examples of existing pages that need work, a list of subjects that don’t yet have Wikipedia pages, and help tracking down references.”

6. It’s fun

“Last year’s event was fun, lively and collaborative, and we hope this year’s will be too,” Denise said.

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