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WikiWomenCamp: From women, for women

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By Crisco 1492
The first WikiWomenCamp was held in Buenos Aires, 23–25 May 2012.

Twenty female Wikimedia editors from around the world gathered at the National University of La Plata in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 23–25 May 2012 for the first-ever WikiWomenCamp, where they discussed issues facing women editors and ways to increase the number of female editors (agenda here).

Discussions at the open-space event, sponsored by Wikimedia Argentina, Wikimedia Australia, Wikimedia Deutschland, and Wikimedia Österreich (Austria), were variously in Spanish or English. Topics included why few women edit,[a] Wikimedia and education, and attracting female and writers through social networks. Sue Gardner, executive director of the foundation, joined discussions on the last day of the conference. The event was followed by Wikigénero, a one-day conference discussing the gender gap.

It has long been known that women editors face different challenges than male editors. This was one of the main forces behind the creation of the Wikichix programme – a program exclusively for women editors (see previous Signpost coverage) – in 2006. The foundation listed increasing the participation of women editors as one of its strategic goals in 2010. The number of female participants has since dropped. An independent survey by Sarah Stierch, now community fellow for the encouragement of women's participation at the foundation, found that between 2010 and 2011 the proportion of women editors dropped from 13 per cent to 9 per cent; several of the survey's respondents cited inhospitality as a possible reason for quitting. This gender gap has received mainstream media attention, including a report in The New York Times.

The concept for WikiWomenCamp arose from discussions between women affiliated with several international Wikimedia chapters at GLAMcamp Amsterdam in late 2011 as a way to address women's issues; it was then developed with further input from other editors, most of them women, as well as feedback from women from wikiHow, open-space facilitator Anne Goldenberg (who served as facilitator at WikiWomenCamp), and hacktivist Christina Haralanova. The conference was attended by women from 12 countries on every continent except Antarctica, with the strongest showing from Argentina, and received coverage in the newspaper Tiempo Argentina (Google translate).

Several participants of WikiWomenCamp (photo by Jaluj)

The conference resulted in numerous plans. At the community level, these include relaunching the Wikichix programme as well as increasing work with women in technology groups, in a move that is hoped to increase women's participation, and runnning several further workshops related to the gender gap. At the foundation level, several steps for addressing women's issues are in the works. To deal with harassment, women will be able to use a private mailing list to complain about and receive input regarding harassment faced on-wiki, while outreach may be made easier with learning/training materials specific to women. Further research into gender issues is planned, as is a program to translate articles on topics related to women so that such subjects are represented more evenly across the encyclopaedia. Meanwhile, a book about the perspectives of women around the world on Wikimedia-related issues is scheduled for publication, and media related to the camp is at Commons (audio, pictures, video).

Laura Hale, a WikiWomenCamp organiser and vice-president of Wikimedia Australia, found the Camp to be worth the 24-hour transit each way, saying "I wouldn't have traded it for the world". She described a point on Friday where Sue Gardner pointed to her article work as "my personal fangirl squee moment". Sarah Stierch found the concept a "great idea" and expressed hope that all involved "left with a strong sense of empowerment to do some great things to inspire women to participate".

Another WikiWomenCamp is in the works, but a date is uncertain at the time of writing. Further discussion of women's issues in Wikimedia is planned within Wikimedia Australia. Discussion about women in open-source technology, including Wikipedia, will occur at AdaCamp, held in Washington DC by the Ada Initiative, to coincide with Wikimania 2012.


  1. ^ Suggestions include a lack of recognition of the gender gap, a lack of mentorship, women in several cultures having less free time than men to volunteer, a difficulty in finding referencing to support their contributions, and a lack of confidence in defending their contributions from the majority demographic.
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  • While I know it's hard to get the right wording for these things, I don't think "female and transgendered Wikimedia editors" is quite right--it unfortunately implies that transgendered editors are not female editors. Perhaps simply saying "female" is better? That avoids the issue entirely, seeing as transgendered women already consider themselves to be in that category. An otherwise excellent article, which I won't burden with my own opinion on gender discrimination. ;p Knight of Truth (talk) 15:03, 5 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
    • Indeed - it comes across as extremely pointed editorialising from whoever wrote this. Suggest "female (including transgendered)". If the writer doesn't consider this accurate, I await the detailed explanation - David Gerard (talk) 15:06, 5 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
      • "Twenty female Wikimedia editors, including those who self-identify as female," - Preferable? Or perhaps nix the whole clause. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 15:41, 5 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
        • I stand by my original suggestion of "female" being the simplest and option, and the one least likely to raise any eyebrows. Unless you want to make the specific point that there were transgendered people attending, of course. Knight of Truth (talk) 15:43, 5 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
          • I was worried it may be seen negatively if we did not mention it. Just going with "female" would be in line with the current revision of the Meta page. — Crisco 1492 (talk) 15:47, 5 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
            • I can understand the concern, but I don't think people would be negative about it. People who believe that transgendered women are indeed women should have no problem with the word "women"; if anything a lack of special treatment is more equitable. People who disagree should have no trouble with transgendered people not being mentioned specifically. I imagine the group of Signpost readers who does not believe transgendered women are included in the term "women" and who would insist they be mentioned specifically and separately and is rather small. Knight of Truth (talk) 15:52, 5 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]

"between 2010 and 2011 the number of women editors dropped from 13 per cent to 9 per cent" The number of all editors (both men and women) has also been dropping in the last years. So those findings are only useful if you put them next to the overall editor drop, so you find out if the number of women editors dropped faster than the general editor population or that it followed the same level of decline. Targaryenspeak or forever remain silent 08:55, 9 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]

"Agenda here"
please fix the link to the agenda for WikiWomenCamp, it currently links to meta:Agenda which is absent, and the deletion log isn't much help. this article might have renewed interest due to recent events and a link to the agenda of WikiWomenCamp could prove useful to others besides myself. (talk) 02:54, 28 August 2019 (UTC)[reply]


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