Community Engagement/Women in the Wikimedia movement: Conversations with communities/Report

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It was great getting on this call today and talking to you all about these issues. I feel a big sense of sorority. We should do this every month.

In this movement, you never act alone.

There is so much to do, it is easy to observe progress on the work one does, unlike work on other public spaces.

Wikimedia proves that there is great power in our differences, so we need to invite people from other backgrounds, women included.

It is the second time in a row that I see no new women running for Wikimedia elections. I am concerned that we are pretty far away from shaping the conversation, and from believing that this is our movement. This is our place as well, and we are not occupying it.

The goal of Women in the Wikimedia movement conversation series is to create a space where women Wikimedians can talk about the work they do, share successes and challenges, connect with each other and network across the movement. We believe that in doing so, we are empowering women as leaders in the movement.

There were 3 events that took place throughout the month of March 2018. The conversations were focused on three areas where women’s participation can bring more diversity to Wikimedia projects:

  • Women in Wikimedia Programs,
  • Women in Wikimedia Leadership, and
  • Women in Wikimedia technical spaces.

98 people participated across all 3 events. Participants had a space to reflect on what keeps them engaged, and how they found support to get to the place they are in today.

Through questions and personal anecdotes, participants felt a sense of shared experiences, even with other community members that they perhaps had never even spoken to, inspiring a sense of sorority and comradery. On the right, you can see some quotes taken from the event.

What aspects of our culture make Wikimedia a more welcoming environment for women?[edit]

In conversation with women leaders, these are the key ideas that came to light about our movement's culture and positive aspects.

Learning culture[edit]

Everyone is welcome to try, fail, and try again. Comparing to other contexts where women contribute intellectually, Wikimedia seems like a safer environment to make mistakes.

Mentorship[edit]

All participants, when asked, were able to point to a person that helped them when they started contributing to Wikimedia, someone they can turn to for help when facing challenges, or when something went wrong.

Getting recognition for work well done, and taking small responsibilities one step at a time were key to empowering women to become leaders.

Strong sense of community[edit]

When you contribute to Wikimedia projects, you are never alone, but rather, you are acting in the context of a community. This makes you feel safe as a woman in the public space.

Women support other women on wiki, and because of this Wikimedia has become a great a platform for women to connect on a personal level.

Other outputs of this project[edit]

A poster summarizing the key takeaways of Women in the Wikimedia movement conversations series.