Wikipedia and the under-representation of women…

Wikipedia is the sixth most visited website in the world (after Google, YouTube, Facebook, Baidu and Yahoo).  The single-most concerning factor in Wikipedia’s success is the gross under-representation of women both as writers and as subjects of articles.  Worryingly, of over 1,445,021 biographies only 15.5% are of women – 15.5%?  But we’re 51% of the population! Plus nearly all the biographies of people before 1900 are of men.

And, just when you thought things couldn’t get any worse for women on Wikipedia…. Most of the articles are written by men, including imposing policies for categorisation, notability and referencing.  Women are thought to comprise 8.5-16.1% of editors on the English-language Wikipedia.  Wikipedia recognise this disparity too: Wikipedia:WikiProject_Women% 27s_History

Team Hypatia To The Rescue…..

Appointed as the Hypatia Trust's first Wikipedian-in-Residence, Dr Tehmina Goskar (museum consultant, historian and long time friend of the HT) with the help of a small network of researchers are rebalancing Wikipedia by writing and editing biographical articles of Cornwall and Scilly’s great women.  Utilizing the Hypatia Trust’s Elizabeth Treffry Collection (over 3000 books and articles by and about women in Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly) Tehmina and the researchers will aim to reinvigorate the collection and raise the global profile of its subjects.

Tehmina says, "I have been a long time advocate of free and open access to knowledge especially in the fight against inequality and in pursuit of better diversity in how we write about our heritage. As Wikipedian-in-Residence I will be creating a hit-list of women in Cornwall who are currently not represented or poorly represented on the English-language Wikipedia. This will not only address the gross bias against female subjects on the world's free encyclopedia, but also redress the gender imbalance in the representation of Cornish history, culture and literature."

We will be featuring these biographies as part of our Hypatia Women: Cornwall campaign so keep an eye on our social media pages for more coming soon.

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