Wikimujeres has now completed its six-year of existence. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we have carried on with our activity during 2021. The goal of the User Group has been to develop programs and events with like-minded local institutions and international partners. We continue its strategy process to fulfil its mission of reducing the gender gap and increasing the quality and quantity of articles related to women, regardless of language. The annual report and highlights of the User Group for the last 12 months follows. You can find the report of last year, 2019/2020 here and a raw, day-by-day activity list here.
Wikipedia and cinema: rendering visible the work of female filmmakers
During 2021, Wikimujeres included a new work approach to focus on the visibility of cinema and remarkable films made by women on Wikipedia. The starting point of this new approach was the online edit-a-thon event that took place during the 4th edition of the Cinema by Women Festival (from the 27th of October to the 7th of November 2021). Taking into account its international line up, we revised the filmmakers and filmography showcased at the festival and added 27 new articles, including texts from Fatma Zohra Zamoum, from Argelia; Laura Wandel, from Belgica; Li Jingxiang and Lisa Zi Xiang, from China; Park Ji-wan, from South Korea; Nathatlie Álvarez Mesén, from Costa Rica; Manal Khaled, from Egypt; Aurélia Georges and Jessica Palud, from France; Cecilia Felméri, from Hungary; Ellen Fiske and Rojda Sekersöz, from Sweden; the Mexican Iria Gómez Concheiro or the Spanish Amaia Merino, Mariana Barassi, Dolores Payás or Clara Roquet. Articles were also written on some films that touched on a series of issues related to women’s rights, indigenous women’s rights, sexuality (Nudo mixteco), LGBTQ+ rights (Un perro ladrando a la luna) or stories told from the experiences lived by those women (The Day I Died: Unclosed Case).
This project came to be especially revealing. We ascertained that male filmmakers had much more of a presence on Wikipedia than their female counterparts, in spite of the fact that their work had been selected to be showcased on prestigious festivals. Out of the 48,000 filmmakers’ biographies available on Wikipedia, only 7,000 of them belong to female filmmakers, making up 16 % of the total.
We repeated the experience with the Gijón Film Festival (59FICX). First, we organised an online edit-a-thon focused on filmmakers and films selected in recent years within the festival, during which there were up to 20 articles either written or translated. In the context of the 59FICX, an article on the first international feminist film magazine Women & Film was also created.
Parallel to the online edit-a-thon, we organised an on-site activity within the festival in observance of the special sanitary restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic: a round table called “Wikipedia and Cinema: Rendering Visible the Work of Female Filmmakers”, in collaboration with the FICX’s festival organization committee, the local women’s association Tertulia feminista Les Comadres and Wikimedia Spain.
It was especially emotional to witness the genuine interest of the round table’s audience in getting to know and appreciating in greater depth the Wikipedia’s editing process in a practical level. But there was also an intense discussion on the existing gaps in terms of sex and gender in Wikipedia: only a few women edit Wikipedia in Spanish, making up a 10 % of editors; and especially in Spain, the average figure is not much better: a 11.3 %, according to a study undertaken by the Open University of Catalonia in 2019. The gap in terms of content is also alarming: just 18 % of biographies belong to women, and, in the specific case of Wikipedia in Spanish, in November 2020 the percentage of women’s biographies was 22.33 %. With regards to the representation of women in certain professional fields, 86 % of women’s professional biographies belong to models, 51 % to actresses and 44 % to singers. There is also a critical bias in the information included in biographies, which often tend to describe women in relation to the men in their environment. The Wikimujeres association has serious concerns about these issues.
A problem beyond numbers
In Wikimujeres, we analyse data so we can act and increase the percentage of women’s biographies, especially of those women who are underrepresented in certain professional fields: for instance, women who work in STEM, or the arts (we collaborate with the Art+Feminism project). But we also focus on the quality of the content, which we care about.
In the project “Women’s Rights Are Also Human Rights” our work approach was to include and organise data per country on the life experiences of women from all over the world.
We have supported, created and added content in the “Women’s rights in…” pages of the following countries: Afghanistan, Colombia (in relation to the Colombian Peace Accords), Mauritania, Egypt, Liberia, etc.
Women On the Main Page
We participate in a working group called Mujeres en portada (Women On the Main Page), which analysis the lack of references made to women on Wikipedia’s main pages.
Women with category
Wikimujeres’ members consider that it is important to look after their relationships with other working groups within Wikipedia and the Wikimedia Movement which share common goals: promoting women’s visibility, as well as their rights in different projects, and fight against discrimination towards women. In the same vein, in Wikimujeres we support the campaign “Dones amb categoria” (Women with category) which calls for the creation of female categories in Catalan Wikipedia through social media.
Supporting Wikipedia’s women editors
Wikimujeres coordinates a space in Telegram in order to face everyday challenges, support the edition of Wikipedia, and answer any questions that may arise for those women who have started editing with 52 members and who contribute almost daily. This space is also open to sharing participants' experiences of the Wikimedia Movement in different Latin-American countries.
During 2021, we have carried on with the program “Las imprescindibles” (The Indispensables) by structuring its different pages, organised by country. The project is complemented by the aforementioned Los derechos de las mujeres también son Derechos Humanos (Women’s Rights Are Also Human Rights project).
Wikimujeres workspace has been maintained in Barcelona at the Pompeu Fabra University. On May 16, we celebrated its fifth anniversary. This project has required a weekly investment community-building and community health. Recruiting, retaining and motivating people is a difficult task that requires an investment of time and personal training, which cannot be valued in terms of the edit count. Whether we had an equivalent metric, like the edit count, we could understand the value of this investment.
We know that face to face continues to be an added value in this offline space, especially if we consider that many women editors have left the movement because they have felt uncomfortable. To analyze what motivated this abandonment and find a possible solution is a way to recover this flight of editors.
We believe that treating new users fairly is essential to increase the number of women contributing actively to Wikipedia significantly. For this reason, the offline sessions we hold at the Universidad Pompeu Fabra focus on the main challenge facing them when they start editing: how to deal with the community and its endless rules.
We try to ensure that Wikipedia and its sister projects inspire greater trust in other people who are not aware of the movement since many of them are unaware of the policies that govern the contents created. One way of disseminating our projects as reliable sources of information is by showing the policies that moderate the content created, such as the neutral point of view, copyright, encyclopedic relevance criteria, etc.
As you can see on the activities page, we have participated in as many meetings as possible about Strategy 2030 because we firmly believe in its objectives: to promote equity in knowledge, innovate in free knowledge, expand the global reach of the Wikimedian Movement, its diversity and impact. We know that our voice and work are necessary, and we do not want to miss this opportunity to contribute to creating this essential infrastructure of the free knowledge system for 2030. Women are the factor of change, and our participation must be valued beyond the simple count edits we can contribute as editors of Wikipedia.