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WikiConference India 2016 Submission: We, Men, Women: Collective Learning in Bridging Indic Wikipedia Gender Gaps

Posted by Elisachang at Aug 17, 2016 02:37 AM |
There is no denying that non-English Wikipedias are disproportionally underrepresented in scholarly focus despite the significant role of an open knowledge society can play in smaller linguistic groups – local collaboration and communication, knowledge dissemination, as well as preservation of local language resources.

A presentation was made at the WikiIndia Conference 2016.

Likewise, for the issue of the Wikipedia gender gap, missing the discourse and context of the Indian language Wikipedias’ gender imbalance will be a great loss considering the potential it possesses in gender empowerment and the recognition of female’s accomplishment in the local communities.

In this action research, we approach the issue with localized lens to investigate the gender gaps in five Indian language Wikipedias (Kannada, Konkani, Telugu, Odia, and Marathi) and to recode female participants' experiences in editing, negotiating, and communicating. However, this is not an ordinary gender gap bridging plan, we are not only promoting the idea of female-inclusive open knowledge society, but also actively searching for effective incentives, tangible outcomes, and sustainable strategies to cope with the challenges in respective contexts. Most importantly, we hope to create an example for the establishment of “community feedback loops” for reflective learning. Combining practical approach with theories in Feminism and Social Network, we ask.

  • How do female and women’s organizations perceive Wikipedia and its use on knowledge production?
  • How do we incentivize females and various female organization and make them feel empowered through online contribution?
  • What type(s) of network are ideal for female newcomers? How can we improve cross-community/gender communication?
  • How can we build a more welcoming platform for collaboration?

Indian language Wikipedias may be small, but they are in the phase of much flexibility and opportunities to shape and reshape the cultures and dynamics. Through the cyclical process of an action reaction, narrowing gender gaps in our local Wikipedias is no longer discrete events of individual efforts – but a collective action, a mutual learning, as what Wikipedias were built for.