Wikipedia is mostly a male-dominated space. But a team of people in India is changing that, one page at a time. As Delhi hosted the Women’s World Boxing Championships, they made sure there were pages made for the boxers, and updated existing pages. One of the pages they made was for national boxing champion Lovlina Borgohain.
For the last two years, they’ve met once a month to edit and create pages about notable Indian women, and gender issues. In 25 meetings, participants estimate they’ve made changes to between 200 and 300 Wikipedia pages, often starting from scratch.
“The meetings are set up by Feminism In India, an organisation based in Delhi. Organisers say they usually get between 10 to 15 participants, most of which are first timers.
Currently, less than 20% of Wikimedia’ contributors identify as women. In India, the number is even less. Statistics from 2011 suggest only 3% of female contributors are female. They don’t have more recent data.
“Due to our commitment to privacy, we do not have country-specific data available about our editors,” says Samantha Lien, Wikipedia Communications Manager. “there hasn’t been a comprehensive study since 2013. Today, about 18% of biographies on English Wikipedia are about women.”
To counter the issue, Wikipedia has encouraged groups to meet for ‘edit-a-thons.’ But there’s a catch, Feminism In India says — because Wikipedia only lets you create pages for people who already have some form of media coverage or books written about them. And the media tends to cover men more than other genders. So some Wikipedia pages the group makes are taken down because they aren’t considered significant enough.