Wiki In Africa/Wiki Loves Women
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Since 2016, Wiki Loves Women activates and trains leaders who, through a series of layered activities, build the awareness and skills of participants. By doing so, participants can seize their own agency and address the persistent systemic bias that exists about Africa’s women online and in the media. In addition, Wiki Loves Women hosts a series of easy-to-access content contribution drives that draws attention to specific gaps in the WIkimedia projects. Since 2022, Wiki Loves Women also host a podcast, Inspiring Open, featuring exceptional African women leaders.
This approach targets two critical aspects of the digital gender divide: participation and content. Whilst Wiki Loves Women has an intense focus on Africa, the program is international in reach and intention.
It informs, mobilizes, and trains people to contribute factual information about women and women’s issues to open knowledge platforms. In doing so, celebrate the pivotal roles that women play in each country or region’s political, economic, scientific, cultural, and heritage landscape.
Encouraging the contribution of meaningful content to the Wikimedia projects is a tool to transfer skills, build confidence and self-worth, and show the impact they can make.
- Increase gender-specific content
- An increase in the amount and type of content on the Wikimedia projects that relate to, celebrate, and interest women.
- Raise the visibility of gender and representation gaps
- Wiki Loves Women's activations, events, and works with the partners significantly raises the level of knowledge about the consequences of the gender gap and provided skilled participants eager to combat these persistent gaps.
- Transfer key digital and knowledge contribution skills
- To sustain contribution of gendered subjects that interest, reflect, and relate to women through strategic, layered skills transfer at key points in the participants' journey, and a focused program to develop the Wikimedia and gender-equity knowledge, and project management, communications and community building skills of community leaders.
- the Wiki Loves Women Focus Group, a coaching programme is a practical, action-oriented, mentored online training programme that provides skills and knowledge transfer that is specifically designed to support community leaders as they create gender-equity programmes and drives within the Wikimedia and Open movements.
- the Inspiring Open Women podcast series launched in 2022,
- the online drive to increase the visibility of women through the ISA Tool that is run annually in March,
- the #SheSaid campaign that is run annually in the fourth quarter to elevate women's voices on WikiQuote.
- regular Twitter takeovers to foreground gender-equity programmes on Wikimedia,
Status: on hold
- the development of the Wiki Loves Women MOOC that develops key skills and gender-sensitise approach across the Wikimedia community,
Why Wiki Loves Women
In ITU’s 2019 report 4.1 billion people (53% of the global population) are online. This means that 3.6 billion people are not connected to the Internet, despite 96% of the global population living within reach of a mobile signal. The majority of these unconnected people live in the least Developed Countries, where 80% of the population is offline. In 2019 Africa’s internet penetration was at 39.3 % (the world’s lowest). In 2020, Internet penetration across southern Africa is at 26.4%.
Internet access for women lags behind men. Overall, 48% of all women use the Internet, compared with 58% of all men. In Africa, the internet penetration rate drops to 33.8% for men and 22.6% for women. The digital gender gap has been widening over recent years. Other research finds that urban poor women are 50% less likely to use the internet than men.
Analysis of these statistics mentioned above indicate the following barriers to Internet use:
- A lack of digital skills
- A lack of meaningful and interesting content (subjects that women are interested in or relate to, e.g. local issues, health,)
- A lack of content that represents their experience (e.g. expert women as thought leaders, stereotypical portrayal, etc.)
- A lack of cultural considerations (local context, stories and languages).
Lack of access to information by women becomes a self-perpetuating cycle. If women do not see themselves represented online with stories that are in their language and relevant to their culture, they are less likely to see themselves as capable of contributing. Further, without inspiring women being showcased on local media, many women will not be inspired to follow similar pathways. Leaving nobody behind is a central precept of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Wiki Loves Women’s programmes are aimed at providing training towards access for women and gender-sensitised men. The main goal of the project is skills transfer and also to raise awareness of and action to counter the lack of representation of women generally, and more specifically on online platforms such as Wikipedia.
There are many important and contentious issues within the Gender space, however this programme is not aimed at unpacking those. Rather it is aimed at transferring vital skills towards women and men – digital, technical, researching, writing and leadership – that allow them to access information in order to make up their own minds within their cultural specificity. Should you wish to read more into the various kinds of gender activism, you can access those resources.
Wiki Loves Women: History
Wiki Loves Women started in 2016 in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, and Ghana. Launched in Uganda and Tanzania in July 2018
Using the GLAM model that works with Civil Society, Media and Education organisations in focus countries, Wiki Loves Women encourages the contribution of quality information on African women to be published on, and made widely available via, Wikipedia. Wiki Loves Women began in 2016 with a 15-month pilot was conducted in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Nigeria and was supported in partnership with the Goethe-Institut’s in those countries.
This pilot was subsequently followed by an intervention (based on the pilot model) in Tanzania and Uganda in 2018 and 2019. The 2018 project was conducted in collaboration with Wikimedia Usegroup Uganda and Wikimedia Usergroup Tanzania, and funded by the Wikimedia Foundation. Wiki Loves Women is not only an in-person project, but creates international online drives in order to raise visibility and ensure there is consistent coverage of minority and previously disadvantaged women on the Wikimedia projects.
In our journey to close and bridge the gender gap issue, Wiki Loves Women has since 2016, operated in 15 countries with over 78 gender-focused NGOs and civil society organisations in Botswana, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, France, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.
- 2021-2022, Goethe Institute funds the podcast initiative
- Since 2020, the project is supported by Wikimedia Foundation through the Annual Plan Grant funding of Wiki in Africa
- May 2018: Wikimedia Foundation project grants committee approves application for funding to launch project in Uganda and Tanzania.
- 2016-2017, the initiative is launched with the support of the Goethe Institute
- Over 78 content and network project partners
- Partnering Wikimedia Usergroups:
- And volunteer groups in Botswana, Rwanda, and Zimbabwe.
- Partnering Gender and Cultural Initiatives: