Clearly the arguments here are a rehashing of two different versions
of feminist action - and both have been successful in winning rights
and opportunities for women in the Western world. Which you prefer
often comes down to a philosophical difference about "essentialism" -
do you believe that women are essentially different than men? As that
question is unresolvable on this list, I suggest we turn to practical
questions to resolve this issue.
1) Since we cannot know contributors' sex for certain (and thus
predict their reactions based on any kind of essentialist philosophy),
I am unconvinced that forking the list would be effective in the way
that such groups have been for the feminist movement already.
2) Since the number of people in the Wikipedia community who want to
work on this problem is small, we should work together until such time
as multiple groups are even feasible. Too much fracturing diffuses the
impact we can make.
3) Many women react in ways that are just as sexist as men. Some of
the most damaging sexism I have seen on Wikipedia came from female
editors. We should not exclude male voices based on the assumption
that they could be sexist but allow any female voice.
My two cents.
Perhaps one project for us to undertake is to make more Wikimedia
women visible. Perhaps there are invisible women working in the
background? I know, for example, that 5 of the 6 Campus Ambassadors
here at Indiana University for the Public Policy Initiative are women.
That means that when people "see the face of Wikipedia" for the first
time, they see a woman. This is not a gender-specific project, but it
does help break down the stereotypes about Wikipedia editors. Perhaps
we need to highlight these types of efforts? I know a lot of women on
Wikipedia who do outreach but I'm not sure how well-known they are in
the wider community. Do we need to do Signpost stories?
The Public Policy Initiative is proud to support an all women class this
term. Georgetown University's Professor Kelley is teaching Women and
Human Rights, and joined the project after hearing about the gendergap
in Wikipedia. She is seeking the assistance of other editors to watch
and aid her students' progress. You can find out more and her course and
new student editors at
(This class just joined the project, so the course page is not fully
developed yet, but there is a list of students.)
If you have the time, please help make the new editor experience a
positive one for these new women editors.
Hello Wikipedians, Wikimedians, Wikians and fellow Earthlings,
(This ended up as an E-mail with a long introduction, so feel free to skim it.
It may still be somewhat entertaining.)
first of all, I should note that I'm a guy, so I hope you don't think I'm
being too bold here (or "Chutzpah" as they say in Yiddish/American-English),
but this story was inspired by my interactions with a female.
The female in question is a young Pakistani student of Computer Science, whom
I met on the Freenode IRC network (where some of the Wikimedia projects' are
hosted). Now, she's interested in programming, and also decided to be
interested in white hat hacking in the sense of exploiting programs and remote
system (after her Windows XP-using friend was the target of a nasty targetted
attack.), and many other computer or non-computer related things. She seems
Now, since she has very good English and also speaks, reads and writes Urdu
natively, I told her that the Urdu wikipedia or similar wikimedia projects in
Urdu and English could use help, and she said something that seemed innocent
at the time, but now seems like a problem: that she was far too busy with her
studies during the semester, but would keep it in mind for the vacation.
On the other hand, when I studied in the Technion (I graduated in 2003/2004
well before the wikipedia really matured and became the "it" site that it is
today), I spent hours of my free time on end, communicating by E-mail with
other people, working on my homepage (now on http://www.shlomifish.org/ ,
though back then, it was far less impressive), working on
http://fc-solve.berlios.de/ (Freecell Solver - an open-source project - very
niche, but successful, that proved to be a huge time-sink but naturally very
fun and enlightening[fc-solve].), and being active in the Haifa Linux Club (
http://www.haifux.org/ ) and some other extra-corricular stuff like that. I am
kinda a computer dork naturally, and most females are more into non-computer
stuff than I am, but I still think that the young women in question can spend
some time translating a few paragraphs from the English wikipedia to the
localised wikipedia at a time (and thus slowly but surely create some very
quality articles in Urdu/etc. about insert-your-favourite-topic-here).
So I think we should brainstorm ways to make people like that young Pakistani
(both men, but especially many women from my impression) try to contribute to
Wikimedia projects, Wikia wikis, etc. and other such projects as extra-
corricular activities. What kind of arguments can we use?
P.S: naturally, all those extracorricular activities that I mentioned may have
had a negative influence on my grade, but, naturally, I kinda felt that
dedicating 100% of my time for studies was not something I could honestly get
myself to do, because it contradicted my character and interests. I did
eventually graduate cum-laude, but with a great spread of grades down to close
to 55% which is the passing grade in the Technion. Of course, the Technion
lecturers are reportedly kinda obsessed with getting enough students to fail
the tests so people won't think their tests were too "easy", which often cause
many tests to be excessively long, unfair, cover unseen material or one that
is out of the scope of the syllabus, or otherwise too hard.
[fc-solve] - it also proved to spark interest among people I've talked with
who were familiar with Freecell, due to its immense popularity in Israel out
of being the only long-term interesting computer game in pre-XP MS Windows.
Some of the people who were impressed by it were also attractive members-of-
the-opposite-sex , and not incredibly "nerdy" ones. But I digress.
In any case, I spent much more time on Freecell Solver than I ever did
contributing to the wikpedias, but that is expected due to the inherent
complexity of writing such a program and in the C programming language. It
proved of utility in providing citations for statistics in a wikipedia page
about the Simple Simon variant of Patience, that it can also solve:
There's also http://cards.wikia.com/wiki/Main_Page , which I've contributed
some stuff to inspired by my interest in some card solitaire games and
automatically solving them.
Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
Chuck Norris/etc. Facts - http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/bits/facts/
Larry Wall *does* know all of Perl. However, he pretends to be wrong
or misinformed, so people will underestimate him.
Please reply to list if it's a mailing list post - http://shlom.in/reply .
I've seen Japanese text books which have happy, healthy, young
male and female faces that are utilized to comment upon the text.
More like Ash from Pokemon (not the Nurse, lol!)
Why couldn't the personification of Wikipedia a pair of
happy, healthy, young people, a male and a female?
Always seen together, side by side?
Best of all possible worlds.
- Susan Spencer Conklin
Hi all, me again--
Forgive me if this has been discussed already, and if it has, to point me to the correct place in the archives. It was something that came up in response to the webinar in a multitude of ways, and that was basically: how do we address current male dominance of Wikipedia while being welcoming of folks who don't fall on the gender-binary lines?
I ask for a couple reasons: one, we addressed this with the webinar by asking people who identify as men to voluntarily waitlist themselves, to ensure that those who don't identify as men find a spot, since that's who the webinar we created was intended for. Then, a couple of folks who identified as genderqueer or trans asked me afterwards if there were places like Wikichix (is this an active group, btw?) and gendergap for them to discuss and support one another. I don't have an answer to that question, but I would assume anyone who is addressing the pervasive male percentages would at least be welcome here, regardless of how they identify.
Last, I'm wondering if this group is interested in including that kind of language in the manifesto? It can feel like we are complicating things, for sure, but I would certainly support it (as a *brand new* member, heh).
Facebook: Public: http://facebook.com/deannazandt
Facebook: Personal: http://facebook.com/deannaz
Author: Share This! How You Will Change the World with Social Networking, Berrett-Koehler, June 2010
"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." -- Oscar Wilde
Thought you'd all like o see this effort
Women Write Wikipedia: A How-To Webinar
Have you ever looked something up in the Wikipedia? Obviously, right? But:
have you ever edited anything in the Wikipedia? Bet the answer is "no," and
that's a crying shame! Wikipedia, as you know, is quickly becoming the go-to
reference point for our collective history. But, over 80% of Wikipedia's
editors are men-which means that women's opportunities to document history
and knowledge are passing us by.
In this hour-long online workshop, WAM!Bassador of Technology Deanna Zandt
<http://www.deannazandt.com/> will teach you the basics of editing a
Wikipedia page, as well as the cultural norms that you'll need to know to be
a good Wikipedian. It's time to make sure that all genders are represented
in our brave new history!
FREE. Choose from either
Wednesday, March 23 at 2PM ET
Sunday, March 27 at 2PM ET
To register, email Rachel <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org> .
Frances Kissling, visiting scholar
Center for Bioethics, UPenn
202 368 3954
Thanks to Slim Virgin for providing the foundation of our Manifesto.
What language can we include so that we feel safe about sharing personal
stories here, or opinions?
Should people be required to "sign" the manifesto in order to stay in the
What other goals do we want to include?
Here are a few edits to the manifesto. In relation to the safety issue, in
addition to its being impractical, it might be good to avoid the notion that
women more than men need a safe space, need to be made "comfortable" or that
men need to be "helped" or even want or need to be feminists. If indeed
there are aspects of the Wikipedia culture that turn women off, I'd assume
it is less a question of weakness than good common sense and the confidence
not to waste time where one is not happy. So my changes below
Our Culture: The Gender Gap group hopes to foster a neutral or dispassionate
environment where people can express their thoughts, feelings, and solutions
regarding the gender gap on Wikipedia. The goal is to collaboratively find
logical solutions to help improve the presence of women on Wikipedia and,
hopefully, its sister projects.
As this group touches upon complex problems that permeate human history, it
is essential that we are both patient with and tolerant of each other. Let's
try to help each other express both frustration and solutions in a
* Create an editing environment in which women in all the different
language Wikipedias are valued as equal participants. Additionally, explore
the ways in which women editors might have a different perspective or
different needs, and find ways to ensure that these are expressed and
* Encourage more women to become editors through outreach, as well as
encourage more women to stand for positions of responsibility (e.g.,
adminship, bureaucratship, mediation committee, arbitration committee, board
* Encourage the Foundation to support or engage in research into the
editing experiences of women on Wikipedia, including research to determine
what percentage of editors are women, rather than relying on women
self-identifying in their preferences.
* Improve article-space coverage of women, women's issues and
perspectives, and women's history.
* Provide a space where women can learn, collaborate and participate
more fully in Wikipedia.
* Address stereotyping, assumptions and other obstacles to women's
participation. ( I'd be happy to see this last point dropped in its
Please note: Any member found to be using the list in a negative way will be
asked to leave. This is because, at times, information shared may be
personal or emotional in nature.
Frances Kissling, visiting scholar
Center for Bioethics, UPenn
202 368 3954
*The Hindustan Times ( Kolkata edition) : "Wiki wants Women"*
*The international media is abuzz with the gender gap in Wikipedia
contributors around the world. Also, a survey by Wikimedia Foundation shows
that English Wiki has only 13% women editors. To level this skewed ratio,
the Indian Wikipedia community (communities in different languages across
the country) is holding Women’s Wikipedia Workshops (WWW) across several
cities, including Kolkata. Probably a first of its kind initiative, it is
experimental in nature, with future course depending on response from the
first few ones. *
*“We are trying to understand the cause of this trend, psychological or
technological. Though no statistics support it, one can say half the users
on Facebook are women. There are women bloggers, too. So computer illiteracy
is not an issue,” says Cherian Tinu Abraham, administrator in English
*“Our goal is to double the percentage of women by 2015, not just in India,
but around the world,” says Bishakha Datta, member, Wikimedia Foundation
Board of Trustees. *
*However, there is no denying that social networking websites have more
userfriendly applications than Wikipedia. To edit Wiki, one needs to know
syntax, which many say is no rocket science either. “From my interactions
with women, I have observed that they are more users than contributors,”
*In the Indian context, Bishakha explains, Wikipedia has been organising
workshops at premier engineering colleges, as breaking the technological
barrier there is the easiest. “It is coincidental that men are present in
these institutes in larger numbers. But Wikipedia follows a decentralised
medium, with various languages taking it ahead the way they want to.”*
*But for now, not more than two-three women attend the workshops, says Tinu.
“Women think this is ‘geekdom’, and not for them. Add to this, women feel
marginalised in using public resources, not taking up things which are ‘out
there’ for all,” says Rimi B. Chatterjee, author, blogger and Wikipedia
contributor. Adds Bishakha, “Visit the ‘discussion’ section of the topic
‘woman’ on English Wikipedia and you will know what I mean.” The section is
holding a stiff debate on which picture is suitable to represent ‘woman’ —
dressed or nude, anatomical or general, etc. Sanhita Gender Resource Centre
collaborated with Wikimedia Foundation to “explore the use of Bangla Wiki to
make information on women’s rights and issues accessible,” says Soma Sen
Gupta, director, SGRC. The city held it’s first WWW on March 18, with 20