USW S1E3: Fighting Gender Gap in USW Community

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University Students Wikimedians members in a workshop in Iringa

Gender equality remains unfinished business in every country of the world. It can mean restricted access to education, a lower standing in society, less freedom to make decisions around their personal and family life, and lower wages for the jobs and work they do. Women and girls also experience rampant levels of violence and harassment.

Wiki Communities like the University Students Wikimedians Community have the role to play in making sure that we fight the gender gap that might occur in our community. Gender equity and inclusion are the essentials in the checklist for a healthy Wiki Community.

University Students Wikimedians being one of the Wiki Communities in Tanzania currently interacts with many students from different Colleges and Universities in Tanzania. How do they make sure gender balance is considered in their activities?

“Gender balance in all of our USW Communities is considered a priority in all the activities. Though sometimes it is not easy meeting this requirement as the C.O.T. we make sure that we nearly reach this target in all of our activities.” Magoiga (USW Program Coordinator)

“As far as I know, we girls have always been given the chance to participate fully with full support from our club leader and the other leaders. So far, I haven’t faced any harassment that would make me feel like leaving the community but also I have never heard anyone being harassed, I think this is due to the awareness created for us by the leaders and through that, we respect each other. We are as a family no matter the race or perspectives.” User: HappyDeLuckiest (USW Member)

Talking of the University Students in Tanzania we are referring to thousands of students who we would love to reach and create awareness over the Wikimedia Foundation with its projects. Running a program like this is never easy for you have to consider a lot of things which includes gender balance. The University Students have made sure that starting from the Top level to the lower level gender balance is considered where in leadership 50% are women and 50% are men. This was done to provide a chance for both genders to be able to participate and encourage team members to join and feel safe in the activities being conducted by the University Students Wikimedians.

Approaches/strategies used by University Students Wikimedians.

  1. Analyzing all possible causes of gender imbalance.

Before the beginning of any program, it is best advised to analyze and outline any possible causes that might cause gender imbalance and make plans on how you can tackle that.

  1. Setting friendly user-space policies.

The Wikimedia Foundation already has friendly user-space policies that guide all members and communities on how different issues should be addressed. However, customizing the policies and having a version of your community’s own is not illegal as long it does not violate the Foundations policies.

  1. Having female role models.

Having female role models at the leadership level will boost the engagement of female participants in the community.

  1. Initiate programs that are engaging to both genders.
  2. Address and monitor accordingly all issues (violence) that might arise even if it might seem meaningless they might have an impact on one or more participants.

Challenges being faced by the USW in fighting the gender gap.

The biggest challenge being faced by the University Students Wikimedians Community is the inactiveness of many females this is due lack of personal devices to many thus being able to contribute to the projects when rental devices (Laptops) are available.

Also, the adaption of the Wikimedia projects and its commitment to them are among the challenges that we are facing. The Computer stuff is indeed new to many thus needing more time for them to learn how to use them thus leading others to step down from the projects.

To date, the University Students Wikimedians have not recorded any violent incident and this is due to the implementation of the user-friendly space policy which stands as a shield to all of the members of the community.

How are you fighting the gender gap in your community? What are the challenges you are facing as a community in fighting the gender gap? Share with us your experience in the comments section below.

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Archive notice: This is an archived post from Wikimedia Space, which operated under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

Archive notice: This is an archived post from the News section on, which operates under different editorial and content guidelines than Diff.

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