There is a huge gender gap on Wikipedia. The fact that there is no Dutch page for that term alone, is telling. That that particular page is not there in Dutch nor in many other languages besides English illustrates a larger problem. In fact, the vast majority of both Wikipedia pages are male-related, and editors of the pages are far more likely to be male than female or anything else.

16 percent

Researcher Laura Braden of the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication highlights that only 16 percent of all biographies on Wikipedia are dedicated to women. She adds, “The editors are not fairly distributed between the sexes either. On the English-language pages, only 4.4 percent of editors identify as women compared to 38.7 percent as men. In Dutch, that ratio is 80 percent male versus 20 percent female.”

That’s why on Tuesday Braden is organizing a writing session for students together with the Erasmus Centre for Women And Organisations and Wikimedia Netherlands to address the knowledge gap on Wikipedia. Last year, she also organized such an edit-a-thon. In the previous edition, the group of students wrote a page devoted to Dianne Bevelander on Everybodywiki. This year, the group will add to the page of Japanese artist Katsushika Oi, among others.

Braden stresses the importance of such a writing session, “If people don’t have an equal voice, only a few stories will be told. Creating and editing Wikipedia pages is a straightforward and approachable way to do something about it.”

She is asking all students who know someone remarkable with a previously unknown story or topic to join her edit-a-thon via the zoom link of the online writing session. The session starts at 3.30 p.m.

In the writing session, Braden teaches students the impact of page editing and how to do it.

Writing session on International Women's Day

Braden is also involved in a larger event hosted by Studium Generale. Studium Generale, together with Wikimedia Nederland, is organizing a four-hour writing session to add missed information to the platform. This will take place on International Women’s Day on Tuesday, March 8th.

Willem Scholten of Studium Generale: “There is a lack of information on Wikipedia about, for example, medical conditions that only women have. Furthermore, there is also little to read about female scientists.”

On Wednesday, January 19, Studium Generale is organizing a brainstorming session in which they will think together with teachers, students and researchers of the EUR about the content of the broader event on International Women’s Day. Information regarding that session will follow.

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