The Hypatia Trust teams up with Wikimedia in landmark initiative.

Ever heard of Litz Pisk? Try searching for her on Wikipedia - "The page Litz Pisk does not exist." 

Born in Vienna 1909, and died St Ives, Cornwall 1997, Litz is widely regarded as the finest and most influential teacher of modern theatre movement, sadly she is one of the very many great women currently not listed on Wikipedia - however thanks to a partnership between The Hypatia Trust and Wikimedia UK all that's about to change... 

The Hypatia Trust teams up with Wikimedia UK in landmark initiative:

The Hypatia Trust and Wikimedia UK announces a brand new partnership today. Hypatia and Wikimedia UK will work together on a project to rebalance the English-language Wikipedia by training new editors in writing and editing biographical articles on Cornwall and Scilly’s great women.

The Hypatia Trust has appointed Dr. Tehmina Goskar, museum consultant and historian, as its first Wikimedian in Residence to coordinate the project and act as an ambassador for promoting free and open access to information and knowledge on women and Cornwall.

Based in the Hypatia Trust’s Elizabeth Treffry Reading Room in Krowji, Redruth, Tehmina will assemble a team of new editors, create a list of women who are currently underrepresented on Wikipedia and provide access to Hypatia’s special collection of over 3000 books and articles on women’s lives, works and achievements.

Wikipedia is the sixth most visited website in the world (after Google, YouTube, Facebook, Baidu and Yahoo) and considered to be one of the most influential sources of information in the world. However the encyclopaedia suffers from significant underrepresentation of women both as editors and as the subject of articles.

Worryingly, of nearly 1.5 million biographies only 16.6% are of women whereas women make up 51% of the population. And nearly all the biographies of people before 1900 are of men.

Women are also poorly represented in the editorship of Wikipedia with most articles are written by men, and dominating its policies on categorisation, notability and referencing. Women are thought to comprise less than 17% of editors on the English-language Wikipedia.

This project will meet one of Wikimedia UK’s strategic goals of addressing inequality in Wikimedia projects, with a particular focus on the gender gap and geographical bias. The charity will be supporting this project by providing advice and training to support the residency and a new network of editors.

Tehmina Goskar, Wikimedian in Residence, says: “This is just the beginning of a landmark project to redress the imbalance of male-dominated narratives of Cornwall and Cornishness. It is the result of two internationally-minded organisations who have the common aim to improve humanity’s access to knowledge—especially that of the poorly represented.”

Daria Cybulska, Head of Programmes and Evaluation, says: “As the national chapter for the global Wikimedia movement we believe that open access to knowledge is a fundamental right, and a driver for social and economic development. We are delighted to be working with the Hypatia Trust on this important project, which feeds into our overall commitment of increasing online coverage of diverse cultures, heritage and history. We are hoping that we will be able to draw parallels between this initiative and our other projects on Welsh and Scots Gaelic heritage.” Listen to Tehmina talk to Julie Skentelbery about the project on BBC Radio Cornwall, Tehm features at 38 minutes in. 

Litz Pisk

Litz Pisk