On 8 March 2020, the Macedonian Wikipedia community celebrated the International Women’s Day with an editing day on “Macedonian women”. The writing initiative was purposely tailored to match gender and content gaps, and encourage the writing of truly new content with no Wikipedia articles on any other language.
Background and WikiGap
The inception of the WikiGap initiative as a result of Wikimedia Sweden’s collaboration with the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs marked a new era in the Wikimedia movement with regards to minding the gender gap. Wikimedia communities across the world are invited to collaborate with the Swedish embassies and other organisations fighting against the gender gap in organising edit-a-thons around the International Women’s Day with participation mostly by female editors on women topics. However, the preparatory work required for arranging one such event at a high level and the regular commitments of the parties involved often make it virtually impossible to abide by the proposed date. In this light, the Swedish Embassy in Skopje decided to move the event for the second half of the year, which incited the Macedonian Wikipedia community to think about something to commemorate the day.
Concept and reference works
The concept of editing days and weekends as writing initiatives during a 24-hour period and a weekend, respectively, proved to be successful in animating the Macedonian Wikipedia community towards reducing content gaps through online attendance as they engaged editors to write more than 1,400 articles from January 2016 to March 2020. Given the easiness in finding a topic and announcing the initiative, the concept has come as a no-brainer to do something about women on the internationally celebrated date this year. The selected topic was “Macedonian women” and the list of prepared topics included personalities with no Wikipedia article on any language, thus seizing both gender and content gaps at the same time. Since the general idea was to write articles from scratch, dismantling the possibility of translation, it was highly recommended to use the two-volume Macedonian Encyclopedia published by the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts as a main reference work.
Men write about women
The initiative involved 6 editors – all of whom were men – who created or improved 27 articles on the Macedonian Wikipedia.