WikiWomen Camp 2023: Bridging the Gender Gap in South Asia

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WikiWomen Camp 2023, held in the vibrant city of Gurgaon, was a gathering dedicated to empowering and celebrating the diverse voices of women within the Wikimedia community. This camp aimed to create a supportive space for women contributors to connect, learn, and collaborate on initiatives that amplify their impact on Wikimedia projects.

The camp was being hosted after a gap of six years and it was the South Asian community that spearheaded the momentum and played host to the WikiWomen Camp 2023. The camp program was designed according to the diverse contributions in Wikimedia by Women Wikimedians and was divided into cohorts: Strategy and Capacity Development, you can read more about the WWC here.

CIS-A2K was a partner organization of WWC 2023 and one of the areas they focussed on was to work towards the legacy and footprint of the WWC on the South Asia Community and enable some of the much-needed conversations to bridge the Gender Gap in South Asia. 

Here’s how!

South Asia @ WWC

A total of 20 South Asia, Bangladesh and India, female Wikimedians attended the Camp and took part in inspirational Workshops to enhance editing skills, explore advanced Wikimedia tools, Interactive panel discussions to explore strategies for creating a more inclusive environment, Success Stories forum, community building by encouraging networking opportunities, mentorship connections, and other collaborative initiatives. WikiWomen Camp 2023 in Gurgaon was more than an event; it was a celebration of the powerful impact of women within the Wikimedia Movement and a step forward in building a more inclusive and empowered community. 

South Asia Open Community Calls

Preceding the WikiWomen Camp, CIS-A2K initiated a series of four calls as part of the pre-camp activities. These calls aimed to involve female participants from South Asia in discussions, introducing new agenda points and topics. The goal was to encourage female Wikimedians to actively contribute to addressing current challenges and promoting inclusivity. Additionally, the calls served as a platform for collaborative strategizing on future initiatives, including recruiting new female Wikimedians and facilitating strategy sessions to encourage female Wikimedians to take on leadership roles.

South Asian Women Wikimedian’s Round Table

We took the opportunity of the WWC to host a round table and debrief session at the end of each conference day. This was initially intended to review the day’s sessions and prepare for the next days but the discussions took an unexpected turn as participants delved into the challenges they faced and proposed potential solutions for the community beyond the camp. Consensus emerged on strategic approaches, leading to systematically executing a series of sessions.

A2K facilitated this collaborative effort by sharing a feedback form with participants, encouraging them to share insights about challenges and opinions. This feedback loop aimed to ensure that the participants’ perspectives were considered and implemented in future endeavours.

The A2K team is committed to taking some of the discussions and recommendations forward with other members of the movement in South Asia to ensure we take some steps to reduce the Gender Gap within the South Asian communities. 

Another Feather for South Asia – WikiCelebrate

Earlier this year, the monthly initiative by the communications team at WMF called Wiki Celebrate honoured Ms Meenakshi Nandhini

In line with the WWC and to recognize and celebrate the achievements of another South Asian Wikimedian, A2K collaborated with the WikiCelebrate team and identified five outstanding female Wikimedians. After a thorough review and voting process by the WWC COT, Dolon Prova, a Bangladeshi Wikimedian, emerged as the top choice due to her significant contributions.

Dolon’s exceptional work was highlighted and honoured with a certificate of appreciation during the WikiWomen Camp. To extend the recognition further, the WikiCelebrate team published a detailed Diff post shedding light on Dolon’s remarkable contribution. 

Next steps

The camp concluded within three days; however, the discussions that transpired are extending beyond the camp as actionable items. The next steps include:

  • Continuing the monthly calls for South Asia Female Wikimedians to uphold an open platform for discussions.
  • Planning sessions to address the concerns of South Asian female Wikimedians and collaboratively finding solutions to achieve our goals.
  • Encouraging more collaborations among communities or community members to promote women in leadership roles.

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