This post was written by Daria Cybulska, Wikimedia UK Events Organiser
Wikimedia UK was present at the high profile annual Women of the World Festival (WOW) at Southbank Centre on 9th March this year. WOW festival is a global event where the audience gather to celebrate women’s achievements, and discuss how we can collectively overcome the boundaries that women face. I attended the event to give a short talk explaining why women should get involved with Wikipedia, where could they get started.
This event coincided with the International Women’s Day (8th March), and indeed was a part of the Women’s History Month celebrated within Wikimedia community
This ‘how to’ session was an opportunity for 20-30 attendees to gain insight into how they can participate in a project that increases women visibility, making their achievements more accessible to everyone. After my presentation (which can be seen here) I was showered with questions, which proved that the audience was really engaged, very interested in Wikipedia (no one in the audience had contributed before) and wanted to know more about how to join the project. A lot of the participants were women interested in making women’s achievements more visible, and welcomed Wikipedia as an interesting way to contribute.
We have discussed the problem of lack of visibility of some notable women on Wikipedia – if they don’t have articles about them, then a lot of people will not find out about them. But if they don’t have a Wikipedia article, that means there is no other easy way to find information about them on the Internet. I have encouraged people to spend time doing a bit more research (e.g. in their local library) to reach information that may not be available online.
Apart from the seminar, I have circulated an introductory leaflet to encourage as many people as possible to edit, and showing them where to start. Anyone interested can base on the resources listed on there and contribute during Women’s History Month in March.
I really enjoyed the experience of sharing a topic that the audience found so illuminating and worthwhile.