Wikimania 2023: Highlights from the first ever WikiWomen Summit!

Translate this post

The very first ever WikiWomen Summit, a multi-day gathering co-designed in feminist solidarity and focused on gender equality, took place during Wikimania Singapore 2023. Its core organizers, Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight and Vanj Padilla, welcomed gender organizers and contributors from across the Wikimedia movement. 

On August 15th, attendees joined the Mind the Gap event, an external forum for discussion between Wikimedia Movement and Google held at Google Asia Pacific Office. The event brought together Wikimedians and Google to discuss strategies for making both platforms accessible and inclusive for women and non-binary people, with a focus on enhancing equitable practices, tools and capacity building – making diversity and inclusion central to product development and growing content on the internet.

On August 16th, the program included two thematic tracks: language diversity and gender, and gender organizing. In the first track, the discussion centered on gender bias in artificial intelligence, language inclusion at the intersection of gender, and the importance of equity and agency in the use of structured data on Commons. Tactics on making the Wikimedia projects more equitable and representative of women and non-binary people, strategies on how to be an effective gender organizer, and opportunities for women looking to shape their community and local language Wikipedias were the topics discussed in the second track. You can watch the recording here! 

Hi, I’m Natalia and I was sitting here and thinking that in 2011 I was in Dansk at Wikimania, and we had a WikiWoman lunch, one of the first ones. It was such a small group of us and we were kind of shy about “is it okay that we take this space, that we do it?” and I remember the conversations were actually about how can we create a space with more diversity in this movement, and I’m sitting here at the WikiWomen Summit and I’m a bit emotional because we kind of have this space already, we’re not talking about can we have a diverse space in this Movement: we have it, we celebrate it, (…) we are in a such a different place right now. We are experimenting with how we can build diversity in many different ways through data, images, languages, and isn’t it fantastic that we actually got here? It’s absolutely amazing!

WikiWomen Summit participants, speakers, and organizers. Photo by MMulaudzi-WMF, CC BY-SA 4.0.

In the afternoon, the solidarity workshop included welcome words from Maryana Iskander, Wikimedia Foundation’s CEO, and keynote speakers María Sefidari and Netha Hussain, who shared learnings from the first WikiWomen Camps (2012 and 2017) and reflected on where we find ourselves now. Netha Hussain highlighted that considerable progress has been made in the Wikimedia movement in terms of facilitating more gender focused spaces, content campaigns, and safety and inclusion, but that it was now imperative to ensure that existing initiatives for the advancement of women in the Wikimedia movement grow sustainably. María Sefidari reminded us of the importance of women joining and leading the Wikimedia movement’s discussions. In her own words: “It’s important that we are present, and that we don’t work in the margins, because sadly, If you are not at the table, rest assured we are going to be on the menu”.

Masana Mulaudzi facilitated an inspiring conversation with panelists Sherry Antoine, Jasverenne Ferrer and Andrea Kleiman about the past, present, and future of making the Wikimedia movement gender equitable. While the gains of the past years of gender-related campaigning were celebrated by panelists, all remarked that there was an opportunity to be inspired to bring more women to the movement through targeting discrimination and harassment, while taking a multigenerational approach. For example, panelist Jasverenne Ferrer remarked that it was her mother, WikiWomen Summit organizer Vanj Padilla, who introduced her to the movement and that more efforts to bring in young women through safer community engagement could facilitate stronger inclusion.

Left to right: Jasverenne Ferrer, Andrea Kleiman, Masana Mulaudzi, and Sherry Antoine at the plenary stage of Wikimania. Photo by Islahaddow, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Then we looked to the future with Joy Agyepong, Manavpreet Kaur, Chinmayee Mishra — WikiWomen Camp Core Organizer team —, Käbi Laan and Florence Devouard. Nataliia Tymkiv, chair of the Wikimedia Foundation Board of Trustees closed the day’s activities. You can watch the full recording here!

Online and in-person participants were invited to answer a couple of prompt questions: What does it mean to be a Wikiwomen ally and why did you come to the WikiWomen Summit x Wikimania? Answers are reflected in the word cloud below.

Notes for the WikiWomen Summit activities on August 16th can be found on this Etherpad.

Finally, on Saturday, August 19th, it was time for the traditional Women’s Lunch Table, a safe space exclusively for women+ attendees to celebrate their legacy as wikimedians and strengthen and nurture (quite literally, eating together is always fulfilling!) their networks of collaboration and care. Here, Wikimedia Foundation Vice President Yael Weissburg celebrated the growth in the movement focused on gender work, and welcomed diverse, intersectional, and intergenerational learning and solidarity among Wikimedians working on gender.  

Have you uploaded your WikiWomen Summit pictures to Wikimedia Commons? Please do not forget to add them to the convening category.

The next global Wikimedia movement gender-focused convening will be the WikiWomen Camp in India, from Oct 20st – 22nd, 2023. Currently, organizers of this next event are asking to hear from you regarding needs on capacity building: In case you can’t attend the event, no worries, stay tuned for the documentation sharing post-event and let’s keep the conversation going asynchronously and consistently. 

At the WikiWomen Camp, gender organizers will share common goals to then measure progress at the midterm yearly convening, the WikiWomen Summit. Next year, in 2024, this recurring event at Wikimania will happen in Krákow. See you there!

Did you attend the WikiWomen Summit at Wikimania online or in person? Let us have your feedback and help us shape future events by filling out this survey. The survey is open until 30 September 2023.

Can you help us translate this article?

In order for this article to reach as many people as possible we would like your help. Can you translate this article to get the message out?