Wikimujeres was founded in November 2015. It was a pioneering female user group in the Wikimedia Movement in Spanish to work thematically on the gender gap and the lack of women in the biographies on Wikipedia, in addition to the gender perspective in the contents and the reflection on the androcentric bias of many articles. We also stressed the lack of women in the structures of the Wikimedia Movement. Four years later, we are proud of our work, especially seeing how today the reflection on these shortcomings has extended crosswise to the movement and new female user groups which also focus on this topic have proliferated. We were able to see this at Wikimania 2019 held in Stockholm, with numerous events which discussed it on the calendar. We also celebrate a stronger presence of women leading the Wikimedia Movement. It is a collective effort which makes us Wikimujeres particularly proud.
In 2018/2019, Wikimujeres has focused our efforts on the visibility of women in the different Wikimedia projects and on making headway in the diversity and neutrality of Wikipedia. Our objective is to lower (and eventually eliminate) the gender gap, and to achieve this we focus our efforts on expanding the community and developing programmes and events with local allied institutions and international partners. We continue to participate in the 2030 strategy process by focusing on knowledge equity and the health of the community, with a special concern for the need to develop harassment protocols which can help create a safe, healthy environment. We have also taken on the challenge of working to ensure that Wikipedia and its sister projects inspire greater trust among those who are unfamiliar with the movement, since many people often ignore the rules governing the contents created. In our day-to-day work, we explain the policies framing the content created and published and insist on the use of reliable sources, a neutral standpoint, copyrights, etc. In this sense, Wikimujeres has launched an investigation and reflection process on how Fake News affects Wikipedia – the most common contents of disinformation include topics related to gender issues and the rights of women, as well as immigration – and we are participating in the Wikimedia Laboratory to verify data spearheaded by Wikimedia Spain and started in mid-2019.
In addition to the gender bias, we are also concerned with other biases, including the lack of perspective from the global South. All too often, the translation of biographies and thematic contents from other languages, especially from English, convey biases which must be identified and neutralised.
With regard to the visibility of women via the creation of biographies, we are moving forward with the Wikiproject: Las Imprescindibles (The Essential Women) by adding new names of important women in each country. We know that it is not easy, especially to identify the names of relevant women in many countries in the global South where recovering the history of these women is still an incipient process and requires more work. However, we are also convinced that a long-term, organised effort will bring solidity to the visibility of women in fundamental projects in the Wikimedia Movement, such as Wikipedia.
And in August 2019, we started planning the Wikiproject: Women's Rights are ALSO Human Rights, inspired by the work of Wikimedia Argentina WikiDerechosHumanos and the signing of the agreement between the Wikimedia Foundation and the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) of the United Nations at Wikimania 2019.
The text below is the annual report and the most noteworthy aspects of our work in the past 12 months. The report from the previous year, 2017/2018, and detailed information on the daily activities can be found here.
Connecting with local communities
Yet again this year we have been able to confirm the importance of having a permanent offline space in the time and space where Wikipedias is discussed. The simplicity of being able to ask questions face-to-face and figure them out with others. The freedom that comes from having an open, free space where whoever wants to can come whenever they want without any knowledge of publishing, without having to register first, so being able to publish in the language they feel the most comfortable becomes an easy step towards publishing and creating contents. The ease of meeting that comes from having a permanent activity centre to hold meetings, since every Tuesday becomes a point for sharing ideas, participating in the different contests designed to eliminate the gender gap and design projects.
This space meets different expectations depending on the type of people who come:
For people who only used Wikipedia as a reference tool, it has been used to
Discover what Wikipedia really is. What is and isn’t Wikipedia? What are its five pillars? How is Wikipedia managed on the inside? Recent changes, the tavern, the help tools, etc.
Walking through the first steps with them and helping them shed their fear of publishing.
What is an article? How is an article structured? Which references are valid? The difficulty finding relevant references that talk about women.
Detecting the existing gender gap and learning how to rectify it.
Helping them start an article.
How to use the translation tool.
Learning how to use the discussion page and how to interact with other users.
Having fun making friends by sharing and learning cooperatively to publish Wikipedia…
For new users who had been left stranded for different reasons, it helped
Understand the problem that left them stuck.
Learn how to solve it.
Encourage them to keep publishing with assistance.
For scholarly, feminist or other groups, it was used to
Use the ViquidonesUPF space to come ask for advice on how to hold workshops or wikimarathons in their workplace.
Partner with Ca la Dona and Art+Feminisme Barcelona
After holding several Wikipedia publishing workshops at Ca la Dona, based on the partnership with the Barcelona branch of Art+Feminism, we started monthly workshops in this nerve centre of feminism in Barcelona which hosts more than 30 feminist associations and an important centre of feminist documentation. The experience is becoming particularly enriching by giving us the opportunity to contact female feminists who are experts in different areas of knowledge and gain access to important sources. We participate in their assemblies because we believe that forging alliances and having shared objectives is the best way to bring women visibility in Wikipedia.
- Digital platforms and gender perspective", in the Citizen Science Hackathon, and we have started a partnership with Geochicas (OSM) by participating in the Wikimapping of nocturnal anti-harassments sites in Barcelona-Protocolo NO CALLEM.
- We continue to support the working sessions in the Basque Country and Navarra and participate in the publishing workshop at the Public University of Pamplona and in the 2nd Wikiemakumeok Workshop.
Direction of Wikimedia Strategy
In addition to continuing the process of developing the Wikimedia Movement online strategy, we have also participated in two face-to-face events which have enabled us to better understand the debates and challenges.
Wikimedia Summit Berlin
This year the Summit focused exclusively on the Strategy 2030, so in much of the programme the main focal point was for the members of the 9 working groups to hear our opinions and comments. Since we had participated in the ‘Scooping’ before the event, we attended to 2 sessions to introduce the Community Health and Roles & Responsibilities group. One of the main challenges we found in relation to the global strategy is the dissonance and distance between the people involved directly in cooperating in the movement’s projects in some small groups of representatives of volunteer affiliates or not, compared to the large base of people who are publishing Wikipedia, who often, for example, have no information and are unaware of this strategy process, want no changes and may perceive it as unacceptable interference.
Based on the recent change in bylaws to include user groups as valid voters to choose the member of the Foundation’s board, we were called to receive information on the voting process, and in mid-May we were able to vote on behalf of Wikimujeres. We celebrate the fact that there is a balanced presence of women and men in the Board’s final composition, and we congratulate María Sefidari, a co-founder of Wikimujeres, for being re-elected president of the Board in August 2019.
Wikimania - Stockholm
We reached Wikimani after having debated the proposals of the 9 working groups in the Community Strategy Liaisons through our liaison Francesc Fort and reflecting on the recommendations of each of them. We specifically participated in the “Diversity” group, given that it partly matches our objectives and could be an avenue in which we can work to achieve greater equity and quality in the Wikimedia projects. Without a doubt, the principles of diversity, plurality and equity are essential in order to make headway towards eradicating the gender gap.
The Sustainable Development Goals and the 2030 strategy of the Wikimedia Movement were key focal points at the gathering. The more than 158 sessions were inspired to foster a real change… a true challenge!
How to incorporate new female publishers in Wikipedia in environments that are not always friendly, the challenge of working on contents with a gender perspective, the use of inclusive language, the creation of safe spaces for publishing. There are many questions on the gender gap and few clear formulas to lower it. There are more biographies of women, yet the biographies of men are increasing at a much higher proportion. The inequality in the real world is reflected in Wikipedia, and there is a lack of social structures that change this reality.
With regard to the gender gap in the number of female publishers, no headway has been made to understand what is happening. There is a clear need to conduct studies not only that are based on surveys generated within the Wikimedia world but also that point to other areas like the behavioural economy. Why are women not publishing? This is still an unknown which is not yet resolved even though the first studies of women’s participation publishing in Wikipedia date from 2010. Only 12.6% of those who published the encyclopaedia 9 years ago were women, and one decade later it’s only at 16%. One of the first clues in furthering this debate comes from an article written by María Cruz, and upon our return from Stockholm we were motivated to translate it into Spanish. You can find it on the Wikimujeres blog: “Mujeres en el movimiento Wikimedia: roles, cultura y oportunidades” (original title: “Women in the Wiki Movement: Roles, Culture and Opportunities”). It was interesting to learn at Wikimania 2019 how new working groups in Wikipedia have emerged, inspired by the challenges that Wikimujeres posed. One example is the Wikiproject: Las Imprescindibles (The Essential Women), on which we continue to work.
Wikiproject: Women's Rights are ALSO Human Rights
The signing of the agreement at between the Wikimedia Foundation and the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR) of the United Nations Wikimania 2019 with the commitment to increase the quality and quantity of human rights content in the encyclopaedia, as well as to mobilise the global Wikimedia community on human rights, spearhead training all over the world to create, improve and expand content on human rights in all Wikimedia projects, in the more than 300 languages in which Wikipedia is available, and to adapt them to local contexts by providing freeware tools to learn about the basic human rights and how to defend them, was vital to inspiring us to begin to design a new line in Wikimujeres: Women's Rights are also Human Rights. The efforts of Wikimedia Argentina which was crucial to the signing of the agreement between the Wikimedia Foundation and the United Nations based on an experience started by Wikilesa on human rights and crimes against humanity, and continued with WikiDerechosHumanos, is the referent, and we hope to forge avenues of cooperation.
The main objectives of the new wikiproject include:
To organise the existing information on Wikipedia in Spanish on the rights of women (history, legal instruments, laws and international conventions on the rights of women, organisations actively working to defend these rights, thematic articles, women’s rights activists by issue and by country, etc.).
- To bring visibility to the rights of women and girls in Wikipedia by creating articles on the situation country by country and systematically including data on: women’s political representation, violence against women and feminicide.
- To encourage the translation of existing articles in other languages on Wikipedia on the situation of the rights of women.
- To expand the information on the situation of the rights of women and girls in the world.
- To bring visibility to the biographies of women who have fought to defend women’s rights locally, nationally or internationally.
Since the beginning of the Wikiproject in August 2019, 69 articles have been created, organised into 9 subcategories. For the time being, we are working on Wikipedia in Spanish, Wikidata and Commons. Contacts have been made with gender and women’s studies institutes at different universities to identify cooperation mechanisms. Contacts were also made to hold working sessions with experts in different issues to improve the quality of the contents on this topic.
Wikiproyecto: Las imprescindibles (The Essential Women)
We knew when we created the Wikiproject: Las imprescindibles (The Essential Women) that it would not be easy, and we were aware that we were starting a long-distance race with the goal of incorporating biographies of important women organised by topics and country. In fact, the Wikiproject has been transforming. At first, we thought about creating a website which would spotlight the existing biographies on Wikipedia, but the first challenge is to identify the names of those essential women in different fields: scientists, pioneers in the struggle to defend the rights of women, pioneers in politics, historical leaders… and to try to ensure that at least those identified have an article in Wikipedia in as many languages as possible. Many of the difficulties identifying names is found in the countries where the recovery of women’s history is not very advanced. We have found in our quest that many names still need to be identified and systematised, especially in the global South, as well as in the former Soviet Union countries, since women’s movements and feminist activists were considered bourgeois and were therefore never included in the official history. One example is the country of Georgia, which we have worked on specifically, as well as other former Eastern bloc countries.
In 2018-2019, we have identified and added to the lists on which we are working the names of women from Afghanistan, Germany, Antigua and Barbuda, Saudi Arabia, Argentina, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Chile, Ecuador, Spain, United States, Ethiopia, Georgia, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Iran, Japan, Latvia, Malawi, Mauritania, Mexico, New Zealand, Palestine, United Kingdom, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Sudan, Sweden and Switzerland.
Biographies of men and women, analysing data
Why are we making no headway to rectify the lack of biographies of women? Are biographies of women deleted more? Looking for clues to tally the number of biographies of men and women created on Wikipedia in Spanish, and especially identifying the possible problems which are leading to the imbalance in the proportion of biographies of men and women created, in January 2019 we planned to track all the articles created every single day for one month, from January to February 2019, on the “Wikimujeres publishing” list. Thanks to the inestimable cooperation of Laura Fiorucci and the generous contribution of Jem with the creation of a bot, this tracking became feasible. More than a dozen colleagues collaboratively revised the creation of articles every day and classified them. The outcome was realising that almost three times as many biographies of men are created on Wikipedia every day than biographies of women. Many biographies of both men and women were deleted because of irrelevancy, lack of references, etc. The result was clear: every day almost twice as many biographies of men survive as biographies of women. We discovered that the main problem is simply that many fewer biographies of women are created than biographies of men. This can only be coupled with the fact that mainly women may be publishing biographies of women, and that since they have less experience in publishing they make more mistakes and therefore what they publish is deleted more easily. We at Wikimujeres are aware that it is much more difficult to find references to the work of women and therefore to demonstrate their importance. Being aware of the problem is the first step. Without a doubt, we are facing the challenge of systematising the information and establishing some good practices in order to keep working to eliminate the gender gap.
According to the data obtained, of the total number of articles created, 4,463 are on men and 1,380 are on women; the total number of articles deleted was 1,177 on men and 339 on women. The average number created daily was 71.98 articles on men and 22.26 on women. The average number deleted daily was 18.98% of articles on men and 5.47% of articles on women.
We have continued working on educational projects with the Autonomous University of Barcelona in the Graduate Diploma in Gender and Equality and the Graduate Diploma in Gender-Based Violence.
We participated in this gathering in order to learn from different experiences, and we took advantage of it to learn about other realities through theoretical talks. We found that the Wikimedia community works at different paces, and fairly large gaps could be seen in the level and discourse from one country to another. Nonetheless, the spirit of volunteerism still remains, and there is a real intention to convey open knowledge on digital platforms through Wikipedia in order to foster universal education. There was only one presentation which referred to the gender gap and it was the Wikiproject Wikiemakumeok, women with whom we already partner.
We have maintained training initiatives to create other Wikipedia publishing groups with the goal of working on the gender perspective. In February 2019, after a training session, the group Wikimulleres de Vigo was created, which meets every week at the Feminist Documentation and Resource Centre in Vigo.
In 2019, in addition to our standing cooperation with Pompeu Fabra University, we have also helped train other universities, including Carlos III University of Madrid, University of the Basque Country, University of the Balearic Islands, Autonomous University of Madrid and Complutense University of Madrid.
In April 2019, we held a training for journalists in Georgia: Introduction to Wikipedia with a gender perspective in a workshop on journalism and gender. Georgia.
Workshops for female communicators
We at Wikimujeres believe that it is strategic to train female journalists and communicators in publishing on Wikipedia. We have held several workshops, including with the group of Communicators of Granada (May 2019) and the group of Communicators of Madrid (March 2019).
Incorporating photographs of women in Commons
We regularly add images of women in Commons who have an article on Wikipedia. The images added in academic year 2018-2019 are the karate medallist Sandra Sánchez; the philosophers Adela Cortina, Stella Villarmea, Concha Roldán and Ana de Miguel; the journalists Milagros Pérez Oliva, Marisa Kohan, Lucía Méndez, Magis Iglesias, Maria Xosé Porteiro, Pilar Álvarez and Cristina Pérez Fraga; the politicians María Dolores Pelayo, Cristina Narbona, Carmen Calvo and Ana González; the writers Belén Gopegui and Laura Freixa; and the opera singer Ekaterina Bakanova.
Cooperation with partners
We have continued working with our partners related to Wikimedia and local institutions, as well as with other groups working in other autonomous regions of Spain to eradicate the gender gap on Wikipedia, specifically with:
Held in Santiago de Chile in February 2019, we continue to detect the need to identify strategic regional objectives. What was particularly interesting was the informal gathering of women participating in the meeting, which enabled us to exchange information and agree upon some of the challenges that we viewed as priorities to continue working to eliminate the gender gap both in contents and in the movement itself. The meeting also enabled us to identify shared avenues of interest between Wikimujeres and Wikimedia Spain, which have paved the way for a subsequent partnership on issues like the challenges facing Wikipedia given in light of the proliferation of fake news. Iberocoop meetings are always a good time to reaffirm our regular cooperation with Wikimedia Argentina, Wikimedia México and WikiDonne as well. We believe that our participation may be wortshile by contributing a European vision which can help define shared projects throughout Hispanic America.
Meetings at the Wikimedia Summit and Wikimania
We participated in both meetings, and as Wikimujeres we contributed our voices to ensure that the need to work together to bring visibility to women publishing biographies is not forgotten, as well as to make room in Wikipedia for topics that refer to their struggles to carve out a space for themselves in history such as their rights and freedoms.
Local institutions and international feminist groups
We continue to strengthen our bonds with institutions like the Institute of Women of Spain; universities like Pompeu Fabra University, Autonomous University of Barcelona, the Autonomous University of Madrid and the University Carlos III; and cultural institutions like Medialab-Prado. Furthermore, we are creating ties with groups that have goals similar to ours, such as Art+Feminism and Who's Knowledge in the VisibleWikiWomen campaign.
Wikimujeres has a Twitter profile with more than 5,000 followers and a Facebook page that has had 20,000 interactions.
Wikimujeres has served as a bridge between the media and other groups in Spain with which we work that are devoted to publishing in Wikipedia with the gender perspective.