Bringing the Gender Gap into Focus at Wikimania 2023: Introducing the first ever WikiWomen Summit!

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The Gender Gap on Wikipedia became visible in 2010, when findings from one of the first global surveys indicated that only 13% of contributors to the projects were women. The gender gap is further reflected in readership, where women readers view fewer pages per reading session than men, despite coming to Wikipedia for similar reasons. Furthermore, these gender disparities are reflected in content and user-experiences, where notably fewer biographies on women exist and structural barriers to participation exist for women looking to join the movement. Since then, gender-focused initiatives have emerged in the movement to work together to address the gender gap. Their collective efforts have resulted in significant progress in content, quality and bringing in newcomers, despite many hurdles. This year at Wikimania, Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight and Vanj Padilla, will be organizing the first ever WikiWomen Summit at Wikimania Singapore 2023 – to celebrate and bring into focus the collective efforts of the movement in making Wikimedia projects and processes more gender equitable.

WikiWomen Camp in Mexico City, 2017. Photo by Carolina De Luna for Wikimedia Mexico, CC BY-SA 4.0

Over the past few years, highlights of these collective efforts include in-person convenings like the WikiWomen Camp in Argentina in 2012, and WikiWomen Camp organized in Mexico City in 2017. The WikiWomen Summit hopes to draw on the insights of these previous convenings and cohere the gender-related contributions into targeted programming at Wikimania. The WikiWomen Summit will include events organized under thematic tracks of language diversity and gender, gender organizing, strategy and shared learnings. Through a  series of gender-related presentations, a solidarity workshop, a side event at Google Singapore and a Women’s Lunch Table, the WikiWomen Summit aims to strengthen the connection between gender contributors and allies and feed into future in-person convenings. 

Recognizing this seminal moment in the movement where gender has come into strategic focus (even reflected as a priority in the WMF Annual Plan), the WikiWomen Summit will also draw into focus the next WikiWomen Camp, which will take place in India in October 2023.

WikiWomen Camp in Argentina, 2012. Photo by LauraHale, CC BY-SA 4.0

This year, the WikiWomen Summit has been co-designed to celebrate the work of making the Wikimedia movement more gender equitable and inclusive. We aim to create a safe and inclusive space to share strategies, debate, reflect and forge alliances and common agendas. Organizing in the Wikimedia movement often happens online, so the opportunity to meet in person and build relationships is irreplaceable for connection strengthening and skill building; which is essential for us to thrive individually and collectively in the Wikimedia movement.

Going forward, the intention is for WikiWomen Summit to become a recurring event at Wikimania. So next year, in 2024, gender organizers and contributors will be able to meet again during Wikimania Krakow!

To learn more about the WikiWomen Summit at Wikimania, visit the subpage on the Wikimania website here: 

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