From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki


Australian women have been editing Wikimedia projects since Wikipedia was founded in 2001. Among the first were Claudine Chionh and Karen Johnson on the English Wikipedia. The English Wikipedia has had five female administrators from Australia, and one Australian woman on its Arbitration Committee: Rebecca. Australian traffic accounts for 1.8% of all global traffic to Wikipedia, on par with the amount of traffic India provides.[1]

a man and a woman
WM-AU president John Vandenberg and vice president Laura Hale at a 2011 meetup in Canberra

Wikimedia Australia currently has two women on the board, Vice President Laura Hale and Secretary Anne Frazer. The chapter's first president, Brianna Laugher, is female and women have always had at least one place on the board.[2] Sarah Ewart was the board's longest serving member. When the chapter was first founded in 2008, there were five female members, 13.8% of the total membership. This increased to eleven female members in 2009, 23.4% of the total membership. In 2010, this number dropped to four total female members, 12% of total members.[3]

group at a table
Wikipedia 10 year birthday in Canberra
Attendees of both genders at RecentChangesCamp 2011 in Canberra

Women have frequently been participants in meetups around the country, though their participation, like that of their male counterparts, is dwindling. For example, in 2007, a Canberra meetup had roughly forty people attend, of which half were women. In 2011, a Canberra meetup was held with around nine people attending of which two were women. RecentChangesCamp has become Australia's national wiki conference. In 2011, there were five female participants out of twenty total with the conference primarily being organised by one man and one woman. The 2012 conference is predicted to have a similar gender composition. Women attended only two of Australia's Wikipedia 10 year birthday celebrations: Canberra and Perth, although the three Perth female attendees were not Wikipedia editors.

In 2011 Wikimedia Australia sponsored Ada Camp Melbourne which will take place in January 2012. This women-only conference is dedicated to helping and promoting women involved in the open-technology movement. One of Wikimedia Australia's board members and a chapter member will participate.[4]

There were grassroots efforts by some Australian women to increase female participation on Wikipedia. This was done by non-members of Wikimedia Australia, which included two presentations before groups of women at a meeting, a mini-workshop at a female owned coffee shop in Canberra and at least one radio appearance. There were efforts to integrate the Australian female led efforts into the Wikimedia framework by having them join the gender gap list. Shortly after they joined, in response to a situation on the list, these women ended their outreach efforts and efforts to re-engage them have been unsuccessful. In December 2011, there were 40,580 women of all ages from Australia who were interested in Wikipedia on Facebook.[5] In December 2011, according to Alexa, Wikipedia was ranked the 7the most popular site in the country.[6]

Australian content for women on English Wikipedia is strong in terms of covering women's sport and female politicians though the men's content often is much better and there is more of it. Canberra Roller Derby League, Leah Poulton, Alyssa Healy and Lauren Ebsary are a Good Article about Australian women's sport. This assessment is the second highest assessment available to articles on English Wikipedia. Content related to Australia's feminist movement needs a lot of improvement. Netball is one of Australia's most popular participation sports for women. There are a relatively large number of articles about this sport in Australia. Over the past year, the Australian netball articles are mostly maintained by a very active male New Zealand editor with Australian IP addresses providing some support. On English Wikipedia, there are 11 articles about roller derby leagues from this country. Australia has a female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. The article about her is the 71st most popular in the English Wikipedia's Wikiproject Women's History most popular article list, having received 100,226 views in November 2011. However her article is only assessed as a C class article. Australia's female Governor General, Quentin Bryce had only 13,155 visits during that period and most of the edits to the article were made by men. On English Wikipedia, there are 209 articles women in politics, with more articles spread across four subcategories. There are 116 articles about models from this country on English Wikipedia. As of February 2012, there were only ten articles about notable Australian women from the 1908 edition of "Who in Australiasia" who had articles out of a possible total of 21.[7] Australian women have been involved with some Australian specific project's like Australian literature. The high point for this project was three women involved, but female participation has since dropped and efforts by project participants to recruit additional Australian women have been unsuccessful. Female Australian leadership on English Wikipedia exists, but it is not very visible; none of the recently elected administrators have been Australian women. In December 2011, elections were held for English Wikipedia's Arbitration Committee and no women from Australia ran for a position. Overall, Australians have been represented but mostly by men.

Total number of articles about Australian female actors on several different language Wikipedias. English is not included because category structure does not separate women into their own category.
Total number of articles about Australian feminists on several different language Wikipedias. Languages that are absent are because they do not have a category for Australian feminists.

When compared to some other countries, Australian content is particularly good on Simple Wikipedia, with a large number of these articles being Good Articles and Very Good Articles. Unfortunately, most of this content does not relate to Australian women. Only three of the twenty-one articles in Australian people are about Australian women. It was largely the work of one Australian male. Simple Wikipedia also lacks a female Australian administrator and check user. Australian content exists on other language Wikipedias. Much of this appears to involve Australian actors, models politicians and athletes. The article about Julia Gillard exists in a number of languages including Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Belorussian, Catalan, Czech, Cypriot, Danish, German, Estonian, Greek, Spanish, Persian, French, Korean, Croatian, Indonesian, Italian, Dutch, Japanese, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, Serbian, Thai, Vietnamese, Yiddish, Chinese. The article about Katy Gallagher is on two other Wikipedia. Former New South Wales Premiere Kristina Keneally has articles written about her in five other languages. The Priya Cooper article appears in German and Estonian. The article about Samantha Stosur is written in over 20 different languages. The article about the Australian actress Nicole Kidman appears in over thirty languages. Australian model and businesswoman Elle Macpherson appears in twenty other languages. On Spanish Wikipedia, there are 18 articles about models from this country. On Turkish Wikipedia, there are 2 articles about women from this country.[8] Australian women are covered in other languages. There are 3 articles about female actors from this country on Belorussian Wikipedia.[9] On Aragonese Wikipedia, there are 5 articles about female actors from this country.[10] On Slovak Wikipedia, there are 5 articles and 1 category about female actors from this country.[11]

Norfolk Island language Wikipedia was created and largely originally supported by an Australian woman. Australian women and other women have been part of Australia's efforts to improve Wikipedia content in Australasian languages. Wikimedia Australia is sponsoring a language conference to support this goal, though the female leadership for the conference largely is coming out of Indonesia.

There are no female Australian administrators on wikinews, nor are there any Australian women who are wikinews accredited reporters. A December 2011 search on English Wikinews for Women Australia found 130 articles that mentioned both words.[12] A male university journalism professor at the University of Wollongong had a class project on wikinews. Class membership was split evenly along gender lines. These students, both male and female, published several articles. Sadly, the retention levels were low and few students have continued to contribute after the class ended. One of the best contributors to Wikinews as a result of this classwork was female. A December 2011 search on Spanish Wikinews for Australia mujeres found 21 articles that mentioned both words.[13] In December 2011, according to Alexa, Wikinews was ranked the 48,408th most popular site in the country.[14] On Portuguese Wikinews, there are no women active from this country. This may be a result of several factors, including the language and because Portuguese Wikinews only has an active editing community of five people, one of whom is a woman.

Wikiversity was ranked the 4,229th most popular site in the Australia.[15] Wikiversity plays an important role in Australia's educational involvement with Wikimedia Foundation projects, although its use is primarily limited to one of Australia's 38 universities, and has not been subjected to significant use by other secondary or tertiary education providers. The University of Canberra has one of the largest Wikiversity communities of all universities on the project, with the University of Canberra National Institute of Sport Studies being one of the most active departments on the project. Twenty-one staff members have been involved with the project. Six of them are women. Inside UCNISS, there have been five staff members and faculty who have used Wikiversity. Of these, one was female. Four instructors, from sport studies and psychology, have used Wikiversity as part of their student coursework. None of these were women. 54.3% of University of Canberra students are female and this ratio was generally true for the classes using Wikiversity. When the classes finished using Wikiversity for school work, there was very little retention of these contributors on Wikiversity. The consistent Australian editing on Wikiversity is male.

Commons has a large number of pictures of Australian women. There are 2 categories and 5 pictures of women's association football and 1 picture of the women's national cricket team.

On other Wikimedia Projects, Australians are active but women are either not highly visible, are not in leadership positions, are not getting grant funding to support their work or are not using these projects as instructors in their classrooms. In December 2011, according to Alexa, Wikibooks was ranked the 4,591th most popular site in the country.[16] English Wikibooks has been used by a male Australian instructor at the University of Canberra as part of a course he taught. Students contributed to a book about neuroscience that has since gone on to be featured. Approximately half the students in class were female. When the class ended, few of these contributors stayed on as active contributors to English Wikibooks. On English Wiktionary, there is an Australian male bureaucrat but no female bureaucrats from the country.[17] During 2011, there were two grants distributed by Wikimedia Australia to individual members of the chapter to improve content on Wikimedia Commons. The two individuals did excellent work and the chapter was pleased with their results. The grants went to men. No women had applied for a grant to improve Commons. There are no Australian women administrators on incubator and no active Australian women editors. The project has few participants overall, with only 44 users identified as female and 516 identified as male. There is an Australian male sysop on There do not appear to be any Australian females who hold a similar position on the project.[18] On English Wikisource, there are no female bureaucrats from this country.[19] This is an area that needs improvement.

people listening to a presentation from behind a fence
Perth, Wikipedia 10 meetup at Little Creatures in Fremantle

Wiki Takes My Town… is an Australian project, with much of the work being done in Western Australia. Versions were held in Fremantle twice and in Joondalup once. People went and took pictures of local places where no pictures for them were found on Commons. Women participated in the events, and their pictures were uploaded to Commons by event organisers.

One of the major recent projects led by an Australian woman is the History of the Paralympic Movement in Australia project. Part of this work has included outreach events, including one in Perth, Western Australia. Three Paralympians showed up, two of whom were female. One of them has worked on keeping the article about herself up to date. At another outreach event in Brisbane, Queensland that included Paralympians, women again were included among the participants. The first Australian Paralympic article to be nominated for Good Article status as a result of this project was nominated by a male but featured one of Australia's most famous female Paralympians, Priya Cooper. As of December 2011, there were forty-one Did You Knows associated with this GLAM project. Of them, sixteen featured women. The third most popular DYK by article views was about a woman, Elizabeth Edmondson. Other female related DYKs ranked fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, tenth, twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, seventeenth, and twentieth. For November 2011, among the most popular Paralympic related articles, there were twenty-six articles about Australian women in the top five hundred most popular articles. There are twelve Spoken Word articles about Australian Paralympians, four of which feature females. On the blog dedicated to the project, an interview with Elizabeth (Edmondson) Mills was shared. She is the project's first Paralympic contributor, and has donated images from her personal collection to help with the project. These images were shared using a Creative Commons license.

The National Library of Australia GLAM efforts involved women participating at high levels. A woman is responsible for having the ability to get citations in Wikipedia format on Trove. Women have also been involved with GLAM efforts at state libraries in Australia. Elli Torres wrote a paper titled "What's black and white and read all over? QR Code initiatives at SLQ" that looks at their efforts. Michelle Swales, State Library of Queensland and Chris Bermingham, Western Downs Regional Council published a paper in September 2011 titled Getting Queensland Out There, Building local content on Wikipedia in partnership with public libraries that also examines library practices in regard to Wikipedia.

The Wikimedia Foundation's Australian engagement can be hit or miss. During the December 2011 fundraising appeal, no Australians, men or women, were featured as part of the appeal. During the 2011 Summer of Research, the WMF hired eight research fellows. There were no research fellows, male or female, from Australia that were formally involved as fellows though at least one woman from Australia applied for this project. Australians do get hired by the Wikimedia Foundation, but the most visible people to date have been Australian men, including one programmer and the first GLAM research fellow.

Women are fans and participants on other wikis on the Internet. Wikihow is a commercial wiki that provides user contributed advice on how to do a variety of tasks. Wikihow historically has had high rates of female participation, with one source reporting 43% of their participants being women.[20] Using Facebook advertising data on 10 February 2012 as a measure of interest in this country, there are 21,600 women of any age from Australia who are interested in Wikihow. A search on Wikihow for women and this country shows 312 results.[21]