Women Edit Wikipedia: Training and Editathon

Hanine El Mir
Copy Editor

A group of young feminists organised a Wikipedia editing training and workshop on Saturday, Nov. 4. The training and editing marathon took place in SMEX’s offices area, in Badaro from 2 pm until 7 pm.

The event was organised by the Knowledge Workshop, SMEX, Radical, and other independent feminists. The Knowledge Workshop is in part feminist library and an on-going workshop that functions through gathering women’s stories and sharing feminist resources.

SMEX is a media development and digital rights organisation hoping to preserve digital rights and promote proper engagement with technology. Radical is an intersectional feminist student club in the Lebanese University.

The aim of the day was to create new pages related to prominent women and feminism in Lebanon and the Arab region. Participants could even translate pages of relevant personas from any language to Arabic.

They had the option to edit pages that either contain incorrect information or need more expanding on as well. The editing process was not centered only around pages about women but also included pages about social movements and important events which neglected the participation of women, such as the trash crisis protests in 2015.

Research conducted by some of the organisers has proved that only 17% of English biography entries on Wikipedia are about women, which means 83% of them are about men.

“For each eight male biographies, there’s one female biography,” stated Nadine Moawad, one of the independent organisers.

Yet it does not only revolve around content. At the moment, only 13% of Wikipedia’s editors all over the globe are women, and the number drastically decreases when talking about Arab women.

The organisers hope that through this event, more women and gender non-conforming individuals would be encouraged to become editors on Wikipedia, as well as generally more confident in their use of the internet.

The first 30 minutes were allocated for people to arrive, sign in on the event’s attendance sheet, and register on Wikipedia. There were 21 participants in total, including the organisers who sat down with the attendees and edited entries.

The training started with a Skype session with Emna Mizouni from Tunisia who gave an overview of the projects currently being done to raise awareness and promote knowledge through open sources such as Wikipedia. Mizouni currently works with Wikimedia, which is based in San Francisco but has contributors from all over the world.

She also works with Wiki Loves Women, which was started in Africa and hosted in Tunisia in 2015. She took part in the Wiki Women Camp last July and will be taking part in Wikimania next summer in Africa. She will also be working in Beirut next month.

Following the call, Moawad gave a training on how to create the pages, and Deema Kaedbey from the Knowledge Workshop gave a training on how to cite properly.

“We trust each other to credit each other. It’s important to cite,” she said.

Pizza and salad were served for lunch at 5 pm. There were also some snacks like chips, vegan cookies, tea, and coffee.

The day ended with 17 newly created pages on Wikipedia, submitted for reviewing and waiting to be published.

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