Wikimujeres was officially recognised by the Affiliations Committee on November 11th, 2015. During 2015/2016, the goal of the User Group has been to grow a local community, establish itself as a reliable partner with like-minded local institutions and international partners, and begin a strategy process to fulfill its mission of reducing the gendergap and increasing the quality and quantity of articles related to women, regardless of language. What follows is the annual report and highlights of the User Group for the last 12 months. You can find a raw, day-by-day, activity list here.
Our working spaces
Early on we decided that it was important to have a physical space in which to meet and help new editors. Wikiesfera in Madrid was the answer. It takes place every week at Medialab-Prado. During the 2015/2016 season, it was very successful, attracting a solid group of people every week that were either complete beginners or who had already previous experience editing. We supported the creation and organization of several projects on Spanish Wikipedia within the newly created Wikiproyecto Mujeres - amongst them, Women in Red, To-Be-Improved and several others. Users would come to the working group and tackle lists and articles, resulting in backlogs being cleared and new areas to be improved being located weekly.
This experience was so successful that we decided to replicate it in Barcelona, within the Universidad Pompeu Fabra. Again on a weekly basis, every Tuesday a working group would meet to tackle issues more specifically related to Catalan Wikipedia. This space was called Viquidones -Wikimujeres in Catalan-.
Madrid and Barcelona are two places with solid numbers of women editors, and we knew that, and while we were not completely surprised by the interest that these initiatives could spark, the reception and eagerness with which they were welcomed was slightly overwhelming! Open to the public, we have both men and women attending, but women tend to be the majority, confirming our belief that it is not lack of interest that acts as a barrier of entry to the projects. The working spaces have been confirmed for the 2016/2017 season, to promote new ambitious projects and continue the ongoing, long-term ones. Tentative initial activities in other geographical areas like the Basque Country have also been tried. We are very demanding in the quality of our workshops - the are overseen and supervised by long-time Wikimedians of excellent standing in their respective projects who are able to tackle any questions regarding not just technical aspects about how to edit Wikipedia or use Commons or Wikidata, but also provide first-hand information about the local policies of the different projects and how the relevant communities work and thrive. This increases the chances of positive and constructive experiences with the projects, and thus the retention of editors. Other affiliates have taken an interest on this initiative, and will be trying similar approaches for the 2016/17 period.
In addition to our permanent spaces, we have also organised and celebrated multiple events during the last 12 months. The very first one was the celebration of Wikipedia 15. It provided an interesting challenge, since the User Group had only been approved shortly beforehand, but the celebration in Madrid attracted half a hundred participants and had a nice media repercussion. And of course, we had wikicake!
After that, we went for a rhythm of organising a big event every couple of months -allowing for wiki events such as the Wikimedia Conference and Wikimania, of course-. They were all differently themed - the one thing in common was that the events had to be related to women, regardless of if the topic was medicine, photography or arts. In this vein, we have celebrated editatonas for women photographers, or women writers, or even women electronic music composers! An average attendance was 35 people, always with a majority of women present. Six editatonas were celebrated in the past 12 months.
We also were guest speakers at multiple conferences all around Spain. At these conferences, we underscored the importance of sharing free knowledge, the role of the Wikimedia projects, and the content we are still missing. We encouraged experts to share their knowledge online, to help bridge those gaps, with an emphasis on the gendergap. We used outreach and activism to promote the Wikimedia mission.
Collaborations with partners
From the start we sought to find like-minded groups and organizations with which to pursue our goals. We joined the Iberocoop network and were able to establish friendly rapports with people from different countries. Attending the meetings at Berlin and Esino Lario helped a lot in this regard. We were able to plan and launch projects and collaborations thanks to this.
Online-speaking, with Wikimedia Argentina and Wikimedia México we were able to launch the UN Women project, in coordination with May Hachem and Rosiestep. Despite the awkward timing of the event -August- participation was very high and there were many articles created. Before joining Iberocoop, we supported the initiative La Mujer que nunca conociste, and gave it ample media repercussion, including interviews on public Spanish tv. We would like to thank especially Wotancito and Anna for their continuing support, their extraordinaire experience, and for just being some of coolest wikimedians all around. María Sefidari, co-founder of Wikimujeres and later informal adviser after rejoining the WMF Board, has been exceedingly generous with her availability, insights and support, and continues to inspire us - our grateful thanks as well. We also want to mention our experiences with the wonderful Italian group led by Susanna Giacci - WikiDonne - which in 2016 has started what we hope a successful trajectory on Italian Wikipedia.
At a local level, we have had ongoing successful collaborations with cultural institutions and universities such as Medialab Prado and University Pompeu Fabra. We were also invited by Fundación Princesa de Asturias -the same institution that awarded Wikipedia the Princess of Asturias award on 2015- to go to Oviedo and celebrate an event where half a hundred people attended, as a precursor for the 2016 Awards celebrations, in honor of awardee Mary Beard. We have worked jointly with Mentxu Ramírez from Wikimedia Spain in Bilbao and with Amical Wikimedia in Barcelona to pull off certain events. And in September we worked with Whose Knowledge? at the AWID Conference in Brazil - a wonderful experience that among other things culminated with WK seeking -and receiving!- User Group status themselves!
Attendance to the Berlin Wikimedia Conference and the Esino Lario Wikimania were very important in order to seek out other wikimedians interested in the same goals as us. While we have had to suffer some bad faith misconceptions of our group - misrepresentations about wanting to discriminate men, trying to steal women from other affiliates, or trying to kick men out of the projects -, we are very happy to report that those are in a very tiny -and localised- minority. The bulk of our experiences with wikimedians have been very positive - we are seen as both experts and allies, not users whose work has to be invisibilized, but actual wikimedians with relevant insights who can help create relevant projects and fulfill their own missions. We are grateful for the supporters, and have taken great pleasure in proving them right again and again. We don't think it will be too shocking to share that we have found we have very good experiences with affiliates who tended to have more women on their boards and orgs - we haven't interacted with all affiliates though, so this should be taken as an anecdotal -though not wholly irrelevant- observation in the little time we have existed.
We've already mentioned joining Iberocoop, but thanks to these in-person meetings we've also laid the groundwork to create a network of people who have worked to reduce the gendergap -both of editors and of content-. In some affiliates or even in some projects, that may be the one only person. So we believe it is very important to create a network to not only share our know-how and experience, but also to provide support. Knowing that there are other people who have faced similar problems, just out of itself, can be immensely helpful. Knowing what they have done to tackle them, and what has worked or not, can vastly help them - and prevent burnout. Every single volunteer is precious to us - this is one topic where we always face opposition, be it by people who believe the gendergap -either one- does not exist, or that it is not a problem. Obviously we do not share that worldview, and we do not want people who are in a minority in their geographies, affiliates or projects to feel alone in thinking it is a problem. We want to support them as much as possible. Hence, trying to create an international network. While we have done gigantic steps in this regard, we are aware it is not done yet. One of the ways we want to do this too will depend on the WMF. That is on the editor side. On the content side, thanks to Esino Lario a very ambitious project has began to take its first steps, even if it will not be launched until next year. Working title is Las Imprescindibles.
The participation at both of these conferences allowed us to make new contacts and establish partnerships to launch new collaborations and projects. As a new group, this is of the utmost importance. While it would have been much more enriching to have two people attending the Wikimedia Conference, as chapters and thematic orgs do, we hope that in the future that can be revisited so that this is not just merely based on type of affiliation. Nevertheless, we found these in-person meetings very important, eye-opening and enriching, and we look forward to attending future wikiconferences and presenting our own insights and experiences.
Wikimujeres has been very active on social media. Our Facebook page has more than 5,700 likes and our Twitter has ~900 followers (both were created this year). We have a blog and two mailing lists, one for beginners and another for advanced users - that way new users aren't scared off by talk of categories or bots. We have also launched a YouTube channel. With it, we want to promote not just our work but the work of other women. We have done interviews with other wikimedians, and we feel this is an important part of our collective shared history. We also aim to do interviews with notable women - and we have found that when these are picked up by the media, articles get improved.
Many of the events we have celebrated had strong media repercussion. A selected list of meaningful media mentions and interviews follows:
- 14/01/2016 | eldiario.es | Wikipedia cumple 15 años entre luces y sombras
- 14/01/2016 | Madriz | ¡Nosotras editamos! Mujeres en Wikipedia
- 15/01/2016 | La Marea | Wikipedia, 15 años de conocimiento libre
- 07/02/2016 | ABC | Los correctores madrileños de la Wikipedia
- 27/02/2016 | El Mundo | Medialab Prado, un espacio de premio donde hacen electro ganchillo y prótesis para niños amputados
- 18/03/2016 | M80 | Entrevista a Patricia Horrillo en el programa ‘Ya veremos’
- 11/04/2016 | TVE | "La mujer que nunca conociste", una iniciativa para promover Wikipedia en femenino
- 24/05/2016 | La Vanguardia | El Espacio Wikimujeres en la UPF reducirá la brecha de género en Wikipedia
- 8/07/2016 | Público | Nosotras creamos, nosotras editamos
- 30/09/2016 | Página 12 | Hagan lío
- 16/10/2016 | Público | Visibilizando las letras femeninas
- 17/10/2016 | La Voz de Asturias | Un «wikimaratón» con impronta femenina
- 17/10/2016 | El Comercio | Un homenaje a las escritoras más relevantes de la historia
- 18/10/2016 | El Comercio | Wikipedia se llena de nombres de mujer
- 18/10/2016 | La Nueva España | Premios Princesa Asturias: "Editatón" feminista de Wikipedia