Wikimedia Fellowships/Fellows/Sarah Stierch

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Sarah Stierch, Community Fellow 2012

Working hard at minding the gap.

From January 2012 until January 2013 I have served as a Wikimedia Foundation Community Fellow. My work focused on exploring ways to close the gender gap in Wikipedia. As a women who has been contributing to Wikipedia for over seven years, I was not as aware about the gender gap until an editor survey announced that women comprised of approximately 9% of editors in Wikipedia across 240 languages. Two major projects have stemmed from my fellowship, inspired by a passion for closing this gender gap:

  • Teahouse; a many-to-many support system designed specifically for new editors. This project debuted in February 2012 on English Wikipedia and has proven to be a successful tool to engage, and retain new editors, including women. Visit the main Teahouse research page to learn about the outcomes and read the analysis about the project, which is now entirely volunteer ran.
  • WikiWomen's Collaborative; an online initiative that seeks to engage and inspire women to edit Wikipedia, Commons, and related projects. This project launched on meta and social media in September 2012. You can read my reflection and report about this project here.

I also served as lead for WikiWomen's History Month, which took place in March 2012 and will take place again in March 2013. This event focuses on engaging Wikipedians online and offline to improve content on Wikipedia about women's history during Women's History Month.

This year also allowed me to bring more awareness about the gender gap through press and speaking engagements. My fellowship work was covered in The Daily Dot[1], the Australian Broadcasting Company[2], Jezebel[3], The Independent[4], Slate[5], Linux Magazine[6], die Tageszeitung[7], TechRepublic[8], the Canadian Broadcasting Company[9], Aftenposten[10], and National Public Radio. I have spoken at conferences and meetings for the Museum Computer Network, at the Smithsonian Institution, AdaCamp, Wikipedia Academy, Open Knowledge Festival, Wikimedia Deutschland and Wikimania 2012.

Special thank you to Siko Bouterse, Heather Walls, Jonathan Morgan, Valerie Aurora, Kevin Gorman, Jay Walsh, Matthew Roth, Sue Gardner, Ryan Kaldari, Adrianne Wadewitz, Nicole Ebber, Netha Hussain, B.J. Bischoff, Ginerva Sanvitale, Julia Kloppenburg, Merrilee Proffitt, Anasuya Gupta, Gayle Karen Young, Sara Snyder, Cynthia Ashley-Nelson, Maarten Brinkerink, Garfield Byrd, Tom Morris, and everyone who has provided a listening ear to the stress and strain of this challenge, and to every single woman who I have spoken with, edited with, and who has made the decision to click the [edit] button.

If you have further questions about my fellowship you can reach me at sarahstierch at gmail.com.