Grants:Project/May Hachem/HerStory

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summaryIn 2016, UN Women Regional Office for Arab States (ROAS) initiated a collaboration between Wikimedia represented by myself, Empower Women, the UN Secretary-General's Envoy on Youth and a group of volunteers, and launched HerStory in the Arab States region to enhance and increase the content on Wikipedia related to women and gender equality with the overall aims to raise awareness and close the gender knowledge gap. The HerStory initiative aligns with the ROAS Strategic Note 2018 – 2021 and the UN Women global youth strategy; and focuses on strengthening the leadership of young women in all spheres, economic empowerment and skills development of young women and ending violence against young women and girls. It calls for investing in young women’s knowledge development and knowledge-creation led by young women. HerStory is turning three years with a couple of rapid grants but now the project is getting bigger and we aim for a more sustainable fund to be able to run it. Previously I used to get funds for logistics and venue renting ...etc and volunteering my time as a project manager but now it is different and I am working on a wider scope of partnerships and goals across the MENA region.
targetArabic Wikipedia, WikiData
granteeMay Hachem93
advisorJohn Cummings
contact• may.h.hashem(_AT_)
organization• HerStory
this project needs...
created on18:13, 30 November 2018 (UTC)

Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

What problem are you trying to solve by doing this project? This problem should be small enough that you expect it to be completely or mostly resolved by the end of this project. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

Knowledge is both a resource and an investment, and like all other forms of wealth, it is often deferentially distributed throughout a social system. In many areas, information simply does not exist, and where it does exist, it is often recorded and presented in a manner that does not adequately recount the experiences and contributions of women. Gender knowledge gaps and biases reinforce the harmful stereotypes and practices, and often misrepresent women and girls, and undercut or undervalue their contributions locally and globally. Accurate and comprehensive reflection of the experiences of women and girls in our global knowledge exchange is critical to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in accordance with Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development.

With a better understanding of the way women and girls live their lives, and the specific inequalities and injustices that hold them back every day, communities can better identify the challenges and find solutions to the inequalities. Recognizing the contribution of women through history can defy the current stereotypes about women and provide positive role models for girls and boys.

Wikipedia is the sixth-most-visited website on the internet and over 1,796,235 sites share links to Wikipedia pages. The emergence of interactive crowdsourced information may help to close the gender knowledge gap. In particular in the Arabic Wikipedia, where articles related to women represent only 4.2% of all articles on Arabic Wikipedia, compared to 15% globally. As such, Wikipedia can be a useful vessel in advancing knowledge about women, women´s achievements, and gender inequalities. The potential for reach can be found in its numbers:

  1. Every month, there are around 18 billion visits to Wikipedia from users across the globe.
  2. On average, 107 new articles are created every day and 205,082 edits are made every month on Arabic Wikipedia.
  3. Arabic language Wikipedia is the 19th largest wiki in terms of the number of articles with a total of 555,482 articles and 30,039 uploaded pictures.
  4. There are 65,070 visits per hour to Arabic Wikipedia and 185,083,853 visits each month.
  5. Saudi Arabia represents the largest single user of Wikipedia in the Arab States, with 50 million visits per month, across all language pages.
  6. With 39 million monthly visits, Egypt ranks second after Saudi Arabia.
  7. There are 1,431,343 accounts registered accounts on Wikipedia Arabic.
  8. However, only 673 registered users on Wikipedia Arabic made more than five edits each in the past three months.
  9. While the number of Arabic speakers is estimated at 290 million persons, for every million Arabic speakers there are only two registered Wikipedia editors.
  10. As of 20 January 2018, there were 23,676 articles related to women on Arabic Wikipedia, representing only 4.2% of all the articles on Arabic Wikipedia, while the global rate is 15%.

In 2008, a survey found that less than 13% of Wikipedia contributors worldwide were women. A follow-up survey in 2011 found similar results: globally, 9% of contributors were women; in the U.S., it was 15%. Professors Julia Bear of Stony Brook University and Benjamin Collier of Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, analyzed a subset of the original 2008 survey data to see whether the experience of editing articles differs for women and men, and whether this influences how much they edit. They found clear differences. Women reported feeling less confident about their expertise, less comfortable with editing others’ work and reacting more negatively to critical feedback than men. Moreover, Wikipedia analysis with computational linguistics concluded that the way women and men are described in articles demonstrates bias, with articles about women more likely to overuse words relating to gender and family.

A study published in 2014 found that there is also an "Internet skills gap" with regard to Wikipedia editors. The authors found that the Wikipedia contributors are most likely to be high-skilled men and that, while there is no gender gap among the lower-skilled editors, this "skills gap" has the result of exacerbating the gender gap among editors. Former Wikimedia Foundation Executive Director Sue Gardner cited nine reasons why women don't edit Wikipedia, culled from comments by female Wikipedia editors :

  1. A lack of user-friendliness in the Wikipedia editing interface;
  2. Women do not have enough free time;
  3. A lack of self-confidence in female editors in comparison to males who had long interaction with technology form a young age;
  4. Women’s aversion to conflict and an unwillingness to participate in lengthy edit wars;
  5. Most female editors believe that their contributions are too likely to be reverted or deleted;
  6. Some women find its overall atmosphere misogynistic;
  7. Wikipedia culture is sexualised in ways they find off-putting;
  8. Being addressed as male is off-putting to women whose primary language has grammatical gender;
  9. Some women don’t edit Wikipedia because social relationships and a welcoming tone are important to them, and Wikipedia offers fewer opportunities for that than other sites.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes that the spread of information and communication technology (ICT) and global interconnectedness has great potential to accelerate human progress, to bridge the digital divide and to develop knowledge societies. ICTs are crucial in achieving all of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and have a key role to play in eradicating poverty, promoting gender equality and promoting prosperity in a changing world. In an effort to “leave no one behind” it is important to highlight the role of both formal and informal knowledge systems for complementary and appropriate technology development and assessment, as well as enhance opportunities for women and girls in science to work towards closing the gender divide and intergenerational gaps as well.

What is your solution to this problem?[edit]

For the problem, you identified in the previous section, briefly describe your how you would like to address this problem. We recognize that there are many ways to solve a problem. We’d like to understand why you chose this particular solution, and why you think it is worth pursuing. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

HerStory uses ICT to facilitate crowdsourced knowledge production and collaboration between volunteers across the region by building the technical capacity of women to be able to write their own version of history – herstory-, document the stories and contribution of women, and produce the general knowledge needed for their personal and career development of women and girls. Using Agenda 2030 and the Leaving No One Behind principle as a main framework, HerStory will be empowering local partners to reach those stakeholder groups most at risk of being left behind in regional and national development due to the intersectionality of discrimination. For example, HerStory can shine a spotlight on the experiences of women living with disabilities, rural women, women at risk of human trafficking and early marriage etc.

Regionally, HerStory campaign goal is to double the number of articles about gender and empowerment of women and girls on Wikipedia between 2018 and 2020 by editing existing articles to enhance its quality, translate featured articles from other languages, and adding new articles and photos about women and gender equality. In the Arab States, this target entails the production of 23,676 articles by the end of 2020. In the two years since its launch, HerStory has contributed more than 2000 articles on Arabic Wikipedia through training more than 500 new editors.

Project goals[edit]

What are your goals for this project? Your goals should describe the top two or three benefits that will come out of your project. These should be benefits to the Wikimedia projects or Wikimedia communities. They should not be benefits to you individually. Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

  1. Increase and enhance the quality of articles about gender and women on Arabic Wikipedia;
  2. Produce crowed-sourced knowledge and campaigns to promote gender equality;
  3. Raise awareness about gender through innovation in advocacy and technology;
  4. Strengthened cooperation with knowledge, research, and communication partners;
  5. Build the technological and academic capacities of HerStory’s participants;
  6. Empower young women and men to interact online in a positive manner that can contribute to enhanced online discourse and safer online space, particularly for women;
  7. Increase public awareness on the role of women and their achievements in history and daily life;
  8. Increase the visibility of the role of women in the Arab States, via the creation of a HerStory network between prominent cultural and academic institutions across the Arab States region;
  9. Recognize the power and influence of youth empowerment and engagement;
  10. Editing 10,000 articles on Arabic Wikipedia starting March 2019 till March 2020.

Project impact[edit]

How will you know if you have met your goals?[edit]

For each of your goals, we’d like you to answer the following questions:

  1. During your project, what will you do to achieve this goal? (These are your outputs.)
  2. Once your project is over, how will it continue to positively impact the Wikimedia community or projects? (These are your outcomes.)

For each of your answers, think about how you will capture this information. Will you capture it with a survey? With a story? Will you measure it with a number? Remember, if you plan to measure a number, you will need to set a numeric target in your proposal (i.e. 45 people, 10 articles, 100 scanned documents). Remember to review the tutorial for tips on how to answer this question.

Framing the Contribution of Partnerships to Results[edit]

As the primary guiding principle, the focus on delivering results for women and girls is central to the selection of development and management of partnerships. Broadly, partnerships will contribute to results in one or more of the below ways. The categories are not mutually exclusive; partnerships often fall into more than one category.

  1. Programme implementation partnerships contribute to the implementation of HerStory Initiative, increasing particularly the reach and coverage of essential supplies and services through direct intervention and capacity development, in cooperation with governments and local and regional partners in programme countries across MENA region.
  2. Knowledge and innovation partnerships contribute to the development and strengthening of technical expertise, fostering development and introduction of innovative solutions to produce and disseminate knowledge, and establishing strategies for scale-up.
  3. Policy and advocacy partnerships contribute to development and adoption of norms and standards, and campaigns for policies and legislation, and increased investment in women’s rights. Partnerships focus on collaboration and coordinated approaches to evidence-based policy advocacy and communication. These partnerships support the positioning of women’s issues within the development agenda, and contribute to building political momentum and visibility.
  4. Mobilizing partnerships help to mobilize financial and non-financial resources from donors and other partners in support of HerStory-assisted activities. They also complement advocacy partnerships by helping to mobilize public awareness of women’s issues through targeted communication, particularly in the most marginalized communities.

Do you have any goals around participation or content?[edit]

Are any of your goals related to increasing participation within the Wikimedia movement, or increasing/improving the content on Wikimedia projects? If so, we ask that you look through these three metrics, and include any that are relevant to your project. Please set a numeric target against the metrics, if applicable.

Community Building & Promoting for Wikimedia Foundation Movement Strategy 2030[edit]

HerStory is building a community of volunteers and gender equality champions that continues to work on enhancing the content on Wikipedia beyond editathons events. HerStory is managed by UN Women ROAS and coordinated by the May Hachem who is a member of the UN Women Gender Innovation Agora who supports in recruiting new volunteers, mapping the gender gap of their respective countries, and plan editathons in Arabic communities. HerStory volunteers coordinators are located on the ground in each of the countries of the Arab States region and, in coordination with the UNW Country Office, they manage a team of youth groups and volunteers to ensure a localized version of HerStory based on the country knowledge gap analysis. At the country level, volunteers are selected through a public call for volunteers and are assigned a list of articles to work on before the editathons to research the topic and prepare the content to be reviewed and published during the editathon.


Partnerships are at the heart of the UN Women’s mandate. The current complex global challenges require partnerships across sectors and societies to achieve equitable and sustainable results for women and girls and realize the promise of the 2030 Agenda. Recognizing that only well-coordinated collation of organizations across sectors can solve the world's most intractable development challenges, UN Women ROAS proactively seeks to build partnerships that leverage the combined skills, assets, technologies and resources of the public, private and nonprofit sectors to deliver sustainable development impact. A significant element of the UN Women ROAS 2018 – 2021 Strategic Note is on enhanced strategic approach to knowledge production, coordination and dissemination, with the aim of increasing the visibility of ROAS and public awareness of both success stories and the specific gaps and challenges to gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in the region.

UN Women ROAS recognizes that new ideas, new solutions, and new models of sustainable development are needed to tackle the most intractable development challenges and realize our vision of a gender-equal world. Building partnerships with ROAS starts with defining a shared vision of what we want to achieve, and then co-creating a partnership that taps into the respective strengths of different partners. ROAS believe the most effective partnerships are those in which risks, responsibilities and rewards are shared, and which address core interests of all parties involved.

ROAS HerStory is looking for partnership with a variety of partners; UN Agencies, NGOs, universities, public libraries, gender experts, foundations, private sector entities, and government agencies to make a real difference in the lives of women and girls across the Arab States Region.

Synergies with UN Agencies[edit]

HerStory is building synergies with other UN agencies to promote alignment of priorities and strategies as well as coherence and coordination of efforts to work as One UN. In collaboration with other UN agencies in the regional and national levels, ROAS identified key results, and will help to model and monitor these results. ROAS HerStory team will support regional and national partners to integrate and coordinate the various HerStory activities and their implementation that are more relevant to their mandate and gender mainstreaming strategies. For example, potential partnerships could be formulated with relevant UN agencies to develop and disseminate knowledge related to women’s health and reproductive health. HerStory has been working on mapping and editing profiles of women in STEAM. HerStory team also identified the knowledge gap in Arabic Wikipedia related to women and girls’ nutrition and wellbeing, economic growth, political participation and leadership, education, and participation in all spheres. Please check here.

Partnership with Private Sector[edit]

The private sector can support HerStory through its corporate sustainability initiatives, bringing the experiences and achievements of women to wider audiences and focusing on themes that align with corporate sustainability priorities. HerStory also offers an opportunity to showcase the contribution of women entrepreneurs and leaders of industry. To be part of HerStory, the private sector can:

  1. Sponsor HerStory editathons with the provisision of materials and equipment
  2. Recognise the achievements of key volunteer editors
  3. Support capacity-development with the provision of ICT and editing professionals

Universities: Catalysts for change[edit]

Universities, higher education institutions, and the academic sector have a crucial role to accelerate their contributions to the SDGs. HerStory in partnership with universities can contribute to the implementing the SDGs through their teaching, research, operations and leadership, and provides practical guidance and examples to inspire further action. Here are examples of how universities, professors and students can contribute to HerStory:

  1. Schools can host and organize specialized editathons based on the mandate of the school. For example, the school of medicine can organize editathon focused on women’s health, while the school of computer science can support access to internet and computers for the students and document contribution of women to the ICT sector;
  2. Professors can give students assignments that could be Wikipedia articles in the form of research of topics related to gender equality, contribution of women in the sector of study;
  3. Libraries can support HerStory participants in mapping all relevant books and publications related to women and gender equality;

Project plan[edit]


Tell us how you'll carry out your project. What will you and other organizers spend your time doing? What will you have done at the end of your project? How will you follow-up with people that are involved with your project?

Online Activities[edit]

  • HerStory has a database of +4000 volunteers since 2016,
  • Deliver an online training program to approximately 3000 non-Wikipedian volunteers,
  • Open calls for applicants from different Arab states.

Offline Activities[edit]

  • Running editathons,
  • Design of new ideas for advocacy campaigns and recommendations for innovative methodologies to promote gender equality in the region with special focus on:
  1. Women, Peace and Security, Humanitarian Action and preventing violent extremism,
  2. Women’s economic and political empowerment;
  3. Engagement of men & boys in promoting gender equality,
  4. Ending violence against women and girls;
  5. The SDGs, Innovation, and ICTs for Gender Equality.
  6. Mobilize young people and governments to make pledges in support of gender equality and hold them accountable for their commitments;


Please refer back to section 3


How you will use the funds you are requesting? List bullet points for each expense. (You can create a table later if needed.) Don’t forget to include a total amount, and update this amount in the Probox at the top of your page too!

Project Manager[edit]

  • Item description: May Hachem, UN Women Wikimedian in Residence, salary
  • Cost per hour in dollars: $30
  • Number of hours per year: 120 hrs per month x 12 months= 1440 hrs
  • Total amount= $43,2000
  • Source of funding= This grant

Travel budget and accommodation[edit]

  • Travel budget for May Hachem: $3000 (the amount might not be completely used)

Distinguished volunteers Rewards[edit]

  • The Volunteer of the month: 12 rewards ( each per month) x $60 = $720

Project support obtained from UN Women (exculded from budget)[edit]

  • In Egypt an event that hosts +200 including catering, printings, social media coverage, venue renting, logistics cost $5000 x 5 events per year = $25,000 per year
  • For the past 3 years= $25,000x 3 (number of years the UN Women has been covering HerStory expenses)= $75,000
  • Expected within the next year to hold multiple editathons in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Jordon, Lebanon, Palestine with the approximate above budget.

Total amount of fund requested excluding the support HerStory gets from the UN Women and Partners= $46,920

Community engagement[edit]

How will you let others in your community know about your project? Why are you targeting a specific audience? How will you engage the community you’re aiming to serve at various points during your project? Community input and participation helps make projects successful.

HerStory impact strategy focuses on ensuring youth have a meaningful learning experience and are equipped to drive positive change in their community, and people of all genders have an opportunity to improve their skills and owning and contribute to promoting gender equality. HerStory is lead and managed by young volunteers through an organized management hierarchy that give them more opportunities to practice leadership. HerStory team collaborate with other specialized youth initiatives to go beyond temporary fixes and single-issue solutions while maintaining their specialization and add value where they fit more in the different objectives. HerStory has been collaborating with youth groups like the Y-PEER Youth Network and the Medicine Schools students from Ahram University to produce youth friendly information about reproductive health and with the Egyptian Researchers group to improve the quality of articles on Wikipedia. Please check here.

HerStory Partners[edit]

HerStory is grateful to all the partners who contributed technical, financial, and logistical support:

  1. The Swedish Embassies in Amman, Baghdad, Cairo, and Rabat;
  2. The UN World Food Programme (WFP);
  3. Fe-Male;
  4. The Swedish Institute in Alexandria.
  5. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO);
  6. The United Nations International Telecommunication Union (ITU);
  7. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  8. The League of Arab States
  9. Wikimedia Morocco, Wikimedia Tunisia.

Get involved[edit]


Please use this section to tell us more about who is working on this project. For each member of the team, please describe any project-related skills, experience, or other background you have that might help contribute to making this idea a success.

May Hachem[edit]

  1. Active Wikipedia member since 2013,
  2. Co-founder Wikimedia Egypt,
  3. May has 5+ years experience in the field of youth development towards sustaining Gender Equality across the middle east, with diversity in the fields of NGOs and education. Massive experience in managing young volunteers & setting motivational and development programs for them.
  4. Member of the Wikimedia Movement Partnerships Working Group,
  5. Founder HerStory,
  6. Former Wikipedia Education Programme leader 2013 to 2016,
  7. Steering Committee member of Africa Youth Conference, Here
  8. Member of the UN Women Gender Innovation Agora at the UN Women Regional office of Arab States. Here

Community notification[edit]

You are responsible for notifying relevant communities of your proposal, so that they can help you! Depending on your project, notification may be most appropriate on a Village Pump, talk page, mailing list, etc.--> Please paste links below to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions. Need notification tips?

On Wikimedia projects[edit]

On social media[edit]


Do you think this project should be selected for a Project Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project below! (Other constructive feedback is welcome on the discussion page).

  • I know May Hachem well enough and following her activites since we met at Wikimania'18. I know her devotion and attitude toward her work. I totally endorse her in her project, as I'm sure she will be great in that. Safi-iren (talk) 08:42, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
  • May has a good track record with WP offline activities. I am sure she will execute this project well too. — Nearly Headless Nick {C} 18:13, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Support It's a powerful project, and I know May will coordinate it very well Señoritaleona (talk) 18:31, 5 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Support May has proved her ability to work with several partners and bring results. She is a leader that can raise awareness on the need to bridge the gender gap (both in terms of woman participation and content) and I am sure she'll reach her goals. This kind of profiles are so much needed in Wikipedia communities to grow bigger and more diverse. marcmiquel
  • Support Support Increasing women's participation in the Middle East is one of the major goals of the Wikipedia movement. I've known May for three years and I know her good activities. She is one of the few inspiring Wikimedia organizers who can fill the gender gap in this region of the world. I'm sure that May would be able to finish the project successfully, and would bring extraordinary results for the other Middle Eastern communities in this regards.— Arash 00:27, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Support Raystorm (talk) 19:17, 6 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Support Siko (talk) 17:29, 10 December 2018 (UTC)
  • May does amazing work at a scale that very few others have achieved and we could all learn from. I plan to support her project throughout the year, I hope many others will too John Cummings (talk) 13:18, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Support HerStory project is growing at an impressive scale and becoming a regional project covering the arab region and this is the first time that we have a project like this. HerStory is the main project now in the arab region to address the gendar gap issue that we have in Wikipedia (besides the arabic content) and we should support it to grow more and more. I hope other wikimedians will support it too.Yamen (talk) 17:45, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Support Support Too important project for the region. Dyolf77 (talk) 17:57, 21 December 2018 (UTC)
  • Strong support Strong support HerStory was the starting point of WikiDonne in 2016. All my support to May and this projest. Camelia (talk) 07:26, 8 February 2019 (UTC)