Empowering Women in Wikimedia: The WikiWomen Movement

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Have you heard about WikiWomen? Wikimedia initiated this movement to promote gender equality within the Wikipedia community and other Wikimedia projects. This movement began with several global events, such as the WikiWomen Camp in Argentina (2012) and Mexico City (2017), and later developed into the WikiWomen Summit, a forum dedicated to inclusion and gender equality in the Wikimedia movement.

At Wikimania 2023 in Singapore, I had the opportunity to attend the WikiWomen Summit and WikiWomen Camp in India in the same year. These two events provided extraordinary experiences and opened my eyes to the importance of gender equality in the world of Wikimedia.

The 2023 WikiWomen Summit is an important moment because it is the first forum to specifically discuss inclusion and gender equality in the Wikimedia movement. This event features panels, learning sessions, and opportunities to build alliances and collaboration among women in the Wikimedia community. Meanwhile, WikiWomen Camp 2023 in India invites women from various countries, community leaders, and those who have strong experience in the topic of gender gaps. The goal is to provide valuable experiences, encourage open collaboration, and bridge the gender gap in the Wikimedia movement. 

From these two events, I gained a lot of enthusiasm and insight into how we can increase women’s participation in the Wikimedia movement. I then brought this to the “sawala” discussion session at WikiNusantara 2024.

The “sawala” discussion at WikiNusantara 2024 presented an important topic: women’s participation in the Wikimedia movement. This meeting aims to gather opinions from volunteers in Indonesia about the challenges and opportunities women face in contributing to Wiki. One of the important points discussed was the lack of organization for women-only events on Wiki. Although Indonesia frequently uses International Women’s Day to highlight the role and contribution of women in Wikimedia, these events are relatively rare. This needs to be considered to increase women’s involvement in the Wikimedia community. 
Apart from that, this discussion also revealed various issues relevant to women in the Wikimedia movement. The double burden that women often experience, both in their personal and professional lives, is one of the factors inhibiting their participation. Online environments, including Wikimedia projects, can also be places where female contributors encounter non-inclusive attitudes and behaviors. Of course, we need to address this to ensure women feel safe and comfortable contributing.

Recognizing the various challenges faced by women, this discussion also discussed the formation of the Indonesian Women’s Wiki Community. We hope this community can serve as a platform for women to support one another, exchange experiences, and enhance their skills in Wiki projects. The Indonesian WikiPerempuan Community aims to boost women’s involvement in the Wikimedia movement. Through cooperation and commitment from all parties, we can achieve gender equality in the world of Wikimedia and build a more inclusive and diverse community.

Apart from establishing communities, alternatives such as holding conferences that focus on issues related to women are also being considered. This community aims to encourage women’s participation in various aspects of Wiki projects, such as editing articles on women’s issues on Wikipedia or other Wikimedia projects, as well as encouraging women to become Wikipedia administrators.

However, the challenges faced by women are not uniform throughout Indonesia. In Surabaya, a lack of understanding of the Wikimedia project was a major barrier to women’s participation. On the other hand, in Madura, the majority of Wiki project contributors are women, including pregnant women, wives, and other women interested in the Wiki project. Women also showed great interest in contributing to the UNSRI Wiki Club. In Bandung, the proportion of female and male contributors is equal. In Padang, the number of female contributors is smaller because the location is too far, making mobility difficult for women. Women often invite friends to Wiki activities, which typically attract more men, highlighting the importance of security precautions.
From the various examples above, it is clear that increasing women’s participation in Wiki projects requires inclusive and supportive solutions. Awareness of the lack of female contributors and the challenges they face, including bias and stereotypes, is critical. To overcome this obstacle, we expect concrete steps, such as forming the WikiPerempuan community and holding conferences. There is also a need to strengthen awareness of the importance of women’s contributions to Wikimedia projects. With the right solutions and support, we can create a more inclusive environment and encourage active women’s participation in Wiki projects. Let’s together support women’s participation in Wiki projects and build a more diverse and dynamic Wikimedia community!

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