Wikipedia Women's Workshop in Mumbai

Posted by Noopur Raval at Nov 21, 2012 11:00 PM |
The Wiki Women Workshop was organized at the Vidyalankar Institute of Technology, Wadala in Mumbai on November 4, 2012. It was attended by over 60 women participants who were taught how to contribute to Wikipedia articles and briefed about the knowledge gaps in Wikipedia — the free encyclopedia. Noopur Raval has prepared a report of the event.
Wikipedia Women's Workshop in Mumbai

Infographic on Gender Gap in Wikipedia (via Knock Twice, CC-BY 3.0 non-commercial)

It is a well known fact that over 91 per cent of the contributors on Wikipedia are men. Women contribution comes to around 9 per cent only. As illustrated by this infographic, the articles edited by women also significantly differ from those edited by men or users who do not identify themselves. The major articles are on people, philosophy and arts. The month of November was celebrated by wikipedians across the globe to promote women editors and do women related outreach in different parts of the world. I was part of a similar initiative organized by the Wikipedia community of Mumbai in India on November 4, 2012.

The workshop was planned on e-mail more than a month in advance with inputs from various volunteers of the community as well as members of the Wikimedia India chapter. Once the logistics were taken care of, it was also suggested that the workshop be kept exclusively for women to provide them an uninhibited space to express themselves and learn editing. Although the initial response was huge (over a hundred registrations), eventually about 65 women turned up for the event.

Agenda of the workshop

The community members conducted this workshop differently to how it is usually done — they started with hands-on editing straightaway instead of giving an introduction to the Wikimedia movement and Wikipedia policies. After an hour of teaching the basics of wiki editing the participants were shown a presentation on making user accounts and start contributing articles of their choice. I helped a participant create an article on her village: Vempadu.

In the post-lunch session, participants were asked about the problems they faced and were shown how to contribute images to Commons — the free repository. The winners of the Indian leg of Wiki Loves Monuments were also announced at the workshop. The workshop ended with feedback, Wikipedia quiz and group photographs with the participants.

Feedback

For me, the feedback was particularly interesting because not many women-centric workshops have been conducted in the past. It was good to know that most of the women participants were not feeling left out or grappling with the Wiki interface. There was a diverse age range — from young school girls to retired professionals. Wireless internet access was irregular and not all could connect, which caused a lot of time to be wasted. We (community members and A2K team) would be keeping the participants updated on more events and hope they become an active part of the Wikipedia community as well. This workshop has also opened up avenues for more outreach events in other institutions.

A special thanks and acknowledgement to Vidyalankar Institute (VIT), Wadala for hosting us and to Bishakha Dutta, Moksh Juneja, Aditi Vashisht, Pranav, Krutika, Rohini, Netra, Pradeep, Samir, Netha, Nikita, and everyone else who put this event together.

Here is the blog post written by community members who attended the workshop: http://bit.ly/S78z93

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