The Wikimedia Foundation this week announced the winning grantees in March's "Inspire" grant-making campaign. The campaign was organized as an invitation to the editing community for thoughts, ideas, and opinions on how to address Wikipedia gender gap. Ideas were presented and commented by and within the community via the collaborative IdeaLab, and to help attract contributors the Foundation ran a prominent CentralNotice banner in support of the campaign. The best ideas were to be matched to long-term advisers as well as up to US$250,000 of funding withdrawn from the Individual Engagement Grants and Project and Event Grants programs, which were on hold from February to April this year to free up program staff for the campaign. The campaign served as a pilot project for what the WMF hopes will prove to be a viable new option in community-oriented grant-making: further "Inspire grants" organized as all-at-once timely campaigns focused on issues deemed to be of particular importance to the movement.
With the campaign now complete director of community resources Siko Bouterse and Project and Event Grants Program Officer Alexandra Wangpresented the winners in a post to the Wikimedia Blog. At the time of the campaign's organization the Foundation was hoping for 20 new grant-supported projects, which appears to have been more or less fulfilled: after "careful review by a committee of volunteer Wikimedians and gender-focused experts", 16 projects have received WMF funding. They are as follows:
Wikipedian in residence for gender equity – $27,100 to support the creation of the first Wikipedian in residence role focused on gender equality. West Virginia University Libraries was inspired by the efforts of Wikipedian Adrianne Wadewitz and aims to pursue the vision of gender equality in Wikipedia for years to come, through the establishment of this role.
Gender-gap admin training – $9,000 to pilot the Ada Initiative Ally Skills workshop with a group of Wikipedians. If successful, this project may grow to create a scalable program for training Wikipedia administrators to more skillfully moderate discussions that have gender implications.
Survey women who don't contribute – $4,000 to survey women who don’t contribute to Wikimedia projects about their experiences and perceptions, to prioritize future strategies for engaging and retaining more women.
Wikipedia gender index – $22,500 to gather, automate, graph and observe gender trends in Wikipedia’s biographical articles over time, through a publicly viewable website with open-data downloads.
Wikipedia Buddy Group – $8,050 to pilot a peer editing group for mentorship between college and high school-aged women contributing to Wikipedia.
Wiki Edit-a-thon Work Parties – $750 to pilot a social model for anyone to create and host Wikipedia editing parties. Initial experiments will focus on women in English- and Spanish-speaking communities.
More Female Architects on Wikipedia – $14,150 for an international collaboration between groups in Germany, Australia and the United States, to increase content about women in architecture and design on Wikipedia.
Wikipedia edit-a-thon for the Aphra Behn Society – $900 to introduce an academic group tightly focused on issues of women and gender in the period 1640–1830, to contribute to Wikipedia. This project, too, was inspired by one of the group’s founding leaders, Wikipedian Adrianne Wadewitz.
Wikineedsgirls – $2,596 to organize outreach aimed at supporting women students in Ghana to engage with Wikipedia and sister projects.
Wellington Wikipedia Meet Up – With Childcare! – NZ$3,150 for Wikipedia editing meet-ups at New Zealand’s Dowse Art Museum, to create Wikipedia content about women artists. Providing childcare is key to supporting women’s attendance at these community-building events.
Just for the record – €4,000 to expand the Art+Feminism event in Brussels into a series of editing events focused on topics of gender equality on Wikipedia
The projects are experimenting with a variety of strategies: organizing events and leveraging professional communities, institutions and partnerships to create quality content, researching gaps in both content and contributors, and testing approaches for training and mentorship to better support gender diversity on-wiki. Overall, we're particularly pleased to see projects looking at gender in multiple ways as they work to improve Wikipedia's gender diversity across various contexts, and to be supporting some returning grantees as well as many new project leaders who identify as women or allies for increasing gender diversity.
Further feedback from the Foundation's Inspire team focusing on their experiences in organizing the campaign, which has been in embryo since last December, will be forthcoming. Meanwhile staff and volunteer time has returned to the now-unfrozen PEG and IEG programs, and any further proposed contributions to the themes of gender gap are encouraged to seek any further feedback at these venues.
In related news, senior operations analyst Tilman Bayer published a post to the Foundation blog a day earlier, on March 30, summarizing the statistical work that has been done so far to quantify the scale of the gender gap. Addressing the gender gap emerged as a major strategic goal for the WMF in 2011, following external media coverage about the fact, blowing up what had by that time already become an internal concern for former executive director Sue Gardner and founder Jimmy Wales alike (Signpost coverage at the time was itself written by Bayer, at the time the Signpost's volunteer editor-in-chief). The assessment came with a long list of qualifiers and provided numbers ranging from 6 to 26 percent; as the blog post points out, in the "Inspire" campaign's own banners the number used by the Wikimedia Foundation is a well-hedged "less than 20%". Past articles in the Signpost and elsewhere have used a 10% meter stick. Likely the best assessments come from a trio of editor surveys carried out in support of the 2010-2015 strategic plan, which gave 9%, 9%, and 10% figures, respectively, in 2011-2012—subject to the biases introduced by the use of voluntary editor surveys.
All that said, Bayer does not specifically criticize the distinct lack of recent data. There has been no general survey of the Wikimedia userbase since 2012, making it difficult to get an accurate accounting of how the gender gap has changed in the last three years. While WMF is currently working on another survey, there is no indication of when it will be completed and sent out. R
Chapter reporting: Chapters and thematic organizations with fiscal years ending in December are expected to follow a four-month deadline in the publication of their chapter reports, necessary for evaluation by Foundation staff as to whether they are meeting the activity and finance reporting requirements to maintain their good standing as movement affiliates. These reports are expected to be published in the organization's local language and with a summary or full translation also made available in English, and are expected to completely cover chapter activities during the allotted time period—in this case, the period January 2014–December 2014. Foundation program officer Winifred Olliff this week published an accounting of the post-reporting period statuses of these chapter reports. 9 chapters do not follow the January–December fiscal year and so their standing was not evaluated. 20 chapters are up to date and 3 are up to date pending English translations of their reports. Two chapters are inactive and one formerly inactive chapter—Wikimedia Portugal—appears to have become active again. 8 chapters are not up-to-date with reporting requirements or have incomplete documentation. R
Wikimedia Blog survey: The WMF's communications team released a summary of the results of their blog survey this week. The survey was run in February–March of this year and drew 410 participants from users reading entries on the site; a fuller report on the research findings from the survey is available on the meta-wiki. A laundry list of recommendations has been generated, including ideas about the categorization of posts, their visibility and distribution, and the manner that the blog functions as a communications venue for community contributors. The Signpost has long used the blog as a primary reference source for movement reporting; with the greater emphasis placed on community contributions following the blog's re-organization last year we also now occasionally republish blog stories of import for the community to our own pages. R
Monthly education newsletter published: The Wikimedia Education team published their April issue of the "This Month in Education" report. R