Whose Knowledge?/VisibleWikiWomen

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Since 2018, a collective of partners and friends from around the world made available more than 8000 images of notable women to Wikipedia and the broader internet. We are proud and grateful for that but also aware that there is so much more to be done. Wikipedia (and the broader internet) are still missing many images of important and influential women, especially black, brown, indigenous and trans women.

Welcome to the #VisibleWikiWomen campaign 2020! Join us from 8 March to 8 May 2020 for the third edition of the campaign. Let’s make sure all women are fully seen and recognized!

The Issue[edit]

Women’s knowledge and contributions to the world are invisible in so many ways. When we look at women’s invisibility online, Wikipedia is a good proxy to explain why this is such a critical issue. Less than one quarter of Wikipedia biographies represent women. Many biographies of notable women don’t exist or are incomplete.

More often than not, women biographies don’t have images. We estimate that less than 20% of Wikipedia articles of important women have pictures. And, when women’s faces are missing from Wikipedia, that invisibility spreads. Half a billion people read Wikipedia every month,[1] and it is the 5th most visited website in the world,[2] so gaps in Wikipedia have a big impact on the broader internet.

Project organizers[edit]

  • Whose Knowledge? co-founders began thinking about this campaign in 2017 with a group of Wikimedians from around the world.
  • Señoritaleona is organizing the 2020 challenge as #VisibleWikiWomen Coordinator for Whose Knowledge?.

Our plan for 2020[edit]

Inspired by the results of the previous campaigns, our goal for this third edition of #VisibleWikiWomen is to bring 5000 images of notable women to Wikimedia Commons, the big multimedia library for all Wikimedia projects, including the 299 language versions of Wikipedia.

Once again we will be “Celebrating the colors of #VisibleWikiWomen” with a targeted effort to increase the images of influential black, brown and indigenous women that are being uploaded to Wikipedia as part of the #VisibleWikiWomen campaign.

To reach this goal, we invite you – women’s and feminist organizations, culture and memory institutions, Wikipedia editors, user groups, chapters, and anyone who would like to give notable women the visibility and acknowledgment they deserve. We are excited to collaborate with previous year’s super amigxs and friends again and to welcome new partners from around the world.

How to participate?[edit]

You can join the #VisibleWikiWomen campaign by gathering and uploading quality images in the public domain, or under free license, to Wikimedia Commons under the VisibleWikiWomen category. These images could be photographs or drawings of women, as well as images of their work, with proper consent. Use the Upload Wizard and add the VisibleWikiWomen 2020 category to your uploads. Besides uploading images to Commons, you can also participate in the campaign by:

  • Hosting or attending local events in your communities where photos can be taken or uploaded
  • Releasing your existing photos of notable women under free license
  • Creating illustrations and drawings
  • Promoting and publicizing this project by spreading the word about it and using the hashtags #VisibleWikiWomen and #WomenofColors on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

And probably so much more! We’d love to see you coming up with new ideas that make the most sense for you and your communities.

If you need extra support for participating in the campaign, please email us at visiblewikiwomen[at]whoseknowledge[dot]org.

How to get involved?[edit]

Here are some additional ways to support the #VisibleWikiWomen campaign:


  • Help make our campaign multi-lingual by translating our Meta page, resources kit and the campaign pages of our website into different languages.
  • Make lists of Wikipedia women biographies without images (by country, by occupation, by century, by activity) to raise awareness of the gender visual gap and create interesting challenges for participants.
  • Write a new Wikipedia article inspired by an “orphan” women portrait (an image without an article) and use that image to illustrate it.

Spread the word[edit]

  • Curate and share: select images you love, optionally mixed them with inspiring texts and art, and just share it with the hashtags #VisibleWikiWomen and/or #WomenofColors.
  • Collaborative covering: if you are a journalist, a blogger, a podcaster or you just like to spread ideas online, you can create a piece of content about the campaign.

Support the campaign[edit]

  • If you are a feminist organization, cultural and memory institution, media or other potential partner organization, become an institutional partner.
  • If you are an individual connected to potential partners (like the ones mentioned above), please introduce them to the campaign!
  • If you are connected with potential funders who may be able to fund and support this campaign, please bring them to the campaign!

Resources to help you[edit]

The following resource guides offer some answers to common questions about working with images. Feel free to adapt, add, and translate to suit your own needs! And feedback on any of these guides is welcome.

Finding or creating images
Uploading images
Other guides we like

Super amigxs and friends in collaboration (Join us!)[edit]

Logos of VisibleWikiWomen partners

New 2020 partners: welcome![edit]

Social media (Join the conversation!)[edit]

Edit-a-thons (Find an event near you!)[edit]

In March, there will be many local events to improve the visibility of women in Wikipedia. Edit-a-thons, editing workshops and other activities are being organized by wikipedians around the world.

If you want to be part of such events, search for an event near you, or contact your Wikimedia local chapter. Remember that in addition to creating articles about notable women, you can also take or look for pictures to illustrate them.

Would you like to organize a specific event for the VisibleWikiWomen challenge? We can give you some ideas, resources and support to carry out this plan. Just contact us at visiblewikiwomen@whoseknowldge.org and let's talk!

If you are an Wikimedia event host, like an edit-a-thon, you can join the #VisibleWikiWomen challenge, inviting participants to upload photos of notable women to Wikimedia Commons and to illustrate articles in Wikipedia. We suggest you add some activities related to this challenge in your event. Why not set up a photographic set and invite some notable women from your city to be photographed for Commons? Or maybe do a specific workshop on the use of images in Wikipedia? Join the challenge adding your event below.

Alphabetical by country, Global events with event pages at top

Language When Trainer/Organiser Country or region or language Event page
English March and April Women in Red Global VisibleWikiWomen (image campaign)
Spanish March 1 to April 5 Wikimedia Argentina Global Wikiconcurso/Qué sería de nosotras sin ellas
English March 7th Wikimedia UK UK International Women's Day Wikipedia Edit-a-thon Oxford
English March 7th 500 Women Scientist pods US UCSD Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon
English March 7th Open Foundation West Africa and the African Women's Development Fund Nigeria Women of the Wiki Edit a thon
English March 14th Co Media Labs / Centre for Internet and Society Bangalore / India (online) VisibleWikiWomen edit-a-thon
Spanish / Catalan April 4th Wikimujeres / Sala Apolo / Liquendatalab / Geochicas Barcelona (online) Editatona Arte+Feminismo 2020 (virtual)
Spanish/Portuguese April 26th Ennegreciendo Wikipedia Ginebra (online) Wikipedia:Encuentros/Ennegreciendo_Wikipedia/VisibleWikiWomenofColors
French April 30th Noircir Wikipédia Paris (online) fr:Projet:Noircir_Wikipédia/VisibleWikiWomenofColors

What we’ve done so far[edit]

In 2018 we launched the VisibleWikiWomen pilot edition, followed by a successful second edition in 2019. Highlights from our last year’s campaign include:

  • 3700+ photos of women from around the world were uploaded to Wikimedia Commons at the end of the campaign! After that, the #VisibleWikiWomen category continued to be used, reaching more than 5600 uploaded images so far.
  • The campaign “Celebrating the colours of #VisibleWikiWomen” from April 22nd to May 2nd added significant focus on images of important women of color, especially black, brown and indigenous women from across the world.
  • Some images got a lot of attention. The portrait of Sojourner Truth, for example, was released by the Smithsonian American Women’s History Initiative, during the #VisibleWikiWomen campaign. According to Smithsonian’s Wikipedian in Residence, Truth’s portrait has had hundreds of thousands of views thanks to this campaign.
  • 26 partners – Wikimedians, GLAM and feminist organizations – joined the campaign and were essential to add a wide range of women’s images to the Commons. Below you can see who they are.

External links[edit]