[Foundation-l] encouraging women's participation

phoebe ayers phoebe.wiki at gmail.com
Thu Jun 17 00:26:31 UTC 2010

There's been discussion of the gender gap among Wikimedia editors on
and off for many years now, and it's a focus of the strategic planning
process. This is a part of a larger issue of how to get members of
underrepresented groups to edit more, to combat system bias on all
fronts. (Or, simply how to get more people to edit regardless).

I just read this article:
"International Collaboration for Women in IT: How to Avoid Reinventing
the Wheel"

which is about how the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery, an
international academic computing membership organization) has a
women's interest group -- ACM-W -- which is tasked with increasing
women's participation in IT -- an equally daunting task. What's mostly
interesting about this article is it describes how ACM-W has an
ambassador program, with individuals tasked with increasing
participation in various countries. In turn these ambassadors report
that one size doesn't fit all -- increasing women's participation in
IT depends on a variety of factors, including the general status of
women's education in a country, and that the techniques one uses to
encourage female participation might vary quite a bit depending on
other cultural factors.

Of course this is not an earth-shattering conclusion, but it's also
clearly applicable to Wikimedia. I haven't seen many papers that take
an explicitly international view to the issue of women in IT, so I
thought it was interesting.

-- phoebe

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