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Strategy/Wikimedia movement/2018-20/Working Groups/Diversity

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Diversity Working Group discussions at Wikimedia Conference,
by Habib M’henni, GFDL



Reach, bridging the gaps, privilege, allyship


  • to map the current areas of diversity and the diversity gaps within the movement as well as projects that have been concentrating on bridging these gaps;
  • finding ways to increase awareness of privilege and to overcome related cultural, institutional, technological and behavioral barriers to inclusion and to knowledge equity;
  • ways to include missing voices and bridge gaps in content, reach, and users (in terms of both access and contributions).


Wikimedia projects have provided the world with a new collaborative way for collecting and sharing knowledge and with that an opportunity to collect and share knowledge in more diverse ways than ever before in the history of humankind. With our vision and strategic direction we aspire to advance “collecting knowledge that fully represents human diversity”.

At the same time we are struggling with defining what diversity means for our movement – and indeed, in different contexts it means different things. It can be inclusion of all voices; bringing the marginalized to the center to increase equity; ensuring representation of people who perceive themselves as different; finding ways to better support underserved and underrepresented regions and languages, knowledge and communities that have been left out by structures of power and privilege; bridging the gender gap in contributions as well as in the knowledge and information content.

Although Wikimedia’s vision statement intrinsically includes diversity and many stakeholders in the movement have been advocating for diversity in many ways, these efforts have often been met with pushback from other members of our community. One of our strategic priorities is knowledge equity, and to move us in this direction, we need remedy strategies to manage the change in this regard, become allies and support the voices that keep us in motion.

The Diversity Working Group will work towards understanding what different conceptions of diversity look like, how Wikimedians can become allies to underrepresented groups, and what we need to change in our structures so we can “welcome people from every background to build strong and diverse communities.” This will help us to understand what programs, priorities and support systems we will put into place to address this.

Guiding Questions

These questions are not meant to be answered one-to-one but should help the group frame their own conversations and their consultations with movement stakeholders.

  • What privileges and power structures are hindering our progress towards our strategic direction and vision?
  • What do we need to do to support change and respond to community concerns?
  • How can we become allies to underrepresented groups to counter the structures of power and privilege and move towards knowledge equity?
  • How do we extend the Wikimedia presence globally, with a special focus on underserved and emerging communities, like indigenous peoples of industrialized nations, and regions of the world, such as Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America?
  • How do we bring in those who are not yet part of the movement?

Mailing list



Name Organization / project Role Geography
Afifa Afrin Wikimedia Bangladesh Volunteer South Asia
Amir Aharoni Volunteer North America, Western Asia, Central and Eastern Europe
Astrid Carlsen Wikimedia Norge Staff member Northern Europe
Camelia Boban WikiDonne User Group, Affiliations Committee Board member Western Europe, Central and Eastern Europe
Esra'a Al Shafei Wikimedia Foundation Board member Western Asia
Galder Gonzalez Basque Wikimedians User Group Staff member Western Europe
imacat Wikimedia Taiwan Board member East Asia
Jorge Vargas Wikimedia Foundation Staff member North America, South America
Iván Martínez Wikimedia México, Wikimania Committee Volunteer North America, South America
Marc Miquel-Ribé Amical Wikimedia Volunteer Western Europe
Sam Oyeyele Wikimedia User Group Nigeria Board member West Africa
SusunW Women in Red Volunteer North America, Latin America & the Caribbean
Walaa Abdel Manaem Egypt Wikimedians User Group Volunteer North Africa, Western Europe

Reports and documents


Please take a look at the draft recommendations (September 2019):

  1. Introducing people-centered principles within the Wikimedia movement
  2. Reaching a self-aware and dynamic structure aimed at community diversity and health
  3. Redesigning the platforms for more diversity of people and content experiences
  4. Planned community diversification
  5. Reflective policies for participation and governance
  6. Establishing partnerships in order to represent and protect worlds’ cultural diversity
  7. Decentralized administrative structure for resource allocation
  8. Bridging different local contexts and Wikimedia projects' notability and verifiability policies

First draft recommendations are available as well (August 2019).

There is also an abbreviated, translated version prepared for easier engagement.

Scoping document

Activities and reports

Wikimedia Conference Working Group Report (2018)

This is an overview of the outputs from the discussion about Diversity and Inclusion at the Wikimedia Conference 2018. The group discussed 1. What the scope of this thematic area should be, 2. Who should be in the Working Group, and 3. How the Working Group should work.

Focus of the conversation

The Diversity and Inclusion group at the Wikimedia Conference 2018 emphasised that an action plan for the topic of diversity already has been discussed and developed during Wikimedia Diversity Conference 2017. All ideas remain relevant. The group explicitly mentioned that thematic area of this Working Group will overlap with other Working Groups, especially Partnerships, Community Health, Capacity Building and Technology.

What? Who? How?
  • The group started outlining
    • the definition of diversity and inclusion in relation to content, contributors, communities, and access.
    • the current barriers to inclusion
  • The group formulated questions regarding:
    • The role of technology in furthering diversity and inclusion
    • Rethinking the Wiki structure to make it culture and context specific
  • The Working Group could consist of:
    • Those who would feel the impact of a greater Wiki diversity.
    • Those who can implement desirable change
  • Consultants could include:
    • Representatives from different underrepresented communities, voices under risk, physical and mentally disadvantaged, etc.
  • Agree on principles (e.g. cultural sensitivity, transparency, inclusivity)
  • Agreeing on the processes across the Working Groups, so that communication and coordination between them will be coherent.
  • Nominating candidates for the Working Group based on preliminary agreed criterias.
  • Dividing the Working Group in sub-groups, working on specific topics.
  • Map what research has already been done.
  • Establish processes to include consultants on different stages of the work and with different inputs.

If you would like to know more details about the WMCON discussions on this theme, please consult the documentation.


Existing materials

This is a non-exhaustive list. Please add more sources that provide context, background information and insights related to the thematic area.

See also