Wikipedia is the world’s largest online, user-generated encyclopedia, with more than 40 million articles worldwide on 265 separate language sites. In fact, it is the fifth most popular website on the Internet (right behind Facebook and Baidu).
- only about 1 in 10 editors are women, and
- there are 4 times more articles about men than women.
Increasing gender equality online will help close the gender gap and bring about a more peaceful, prosperous, and sustainable planet. To that end, on International Women’s Day, Sweden’s Foreign Ministry orchestrated #WikiGap edit-a-thon events in over 40 countries around the world. The goal was to improve the representation of women on Wikipedia.
“I believe in overcoming obstacles, not simply talking about them,” said Annika Söder, Deputy Foreign Minister of Sweden. “I believe that this #WikiGap campaign all over the world today is a prime example of how to effect change in the world.”
The Permanent Mission of Sweden organized the event at UNHQ in New York where attendees were provided free training and contributed content on the subject of “Women in Leadership”. At the close of the four-hour event, 42 volunteers had:
- added 6,350 words,
- created two new articles, and
- edited 26 articles.
Co-hosts included Wikimedia New York City; afroCROWD; the Consulate General of Sweden in New York; the Office of Information and Communications Technology (OICT) in the Department of Management; UN Women; UN Youth Envoy; UN social media team and UN Intranet-iSeek in the Department of Public Information.
Noting that her generation is the most digitally connected in history, UN Youth Envoy Jayathma Wickramanayake called on her peers “to use this access, to use these tools to tell the stories of strong and powerful women and girls all over the world.”
“We need to move from being consumers to being contributors,” said Atefeh Riazi, Assistant Secretary-General and Chief Information Technology Officer, during her opening remarks. “And that’s what we’re doing here today, contributing knowledge, content and information.”
And helping to bring about a more gender-equal internet – and, thus a more gender-equal world.