Women are underrepresented on Wikipedia. We’re changing that by teaching students in minority language communities how to write their own articles.
We're bringing together schools, Wikipedia foundations and language organisations in Europe to use Wikipedia as a tool to teach digital literacy, social engagement and language skills. Pupils will be guided through the process of researching women who are not yet featured on Wikipedia and writing articles on them in their national and minority languages to redress this balance. In the process they’ll gain vital digital and research skills plus added confidence in using their minority language, as well as contributing to the online presence of their language.
Wikipedia for learning
The world is changing, and so are the ways we access information. The amount of data that can be accessed through a single search engine is staggering. Yet, even with all this information at our fingertips, there is still a need for us to learn how to navigate through it. We must learn how to find trustworthy information, verify what we find online, and find relevant information when it isn't readily available digitally.
Writing an article on Wikipedia offers a great way for pupils to learn these skills—they can use both online and offline sources as well as themselves see the process of publishing work online which itself will serve as a source of information for others.
In the world of Wikipedia, women are seriously underrepresented. The same is true for biographies in libraries and archives, and even in history books.
This imbalance reflects the wider position of women in society and women in history. We believe it's important to address this imbalance. It is also important to use minority languages to engage with current societal debates and movements to make sure they remain relevant for future generations.
That's why we're working with students to bring more women's stories to life on Wikipedia! We'll invite them to reflect on gender equality in our project. They will gain a greater understanding of the structural and historical reasons behind this imbalance, all while gaining confidence in their minority language and digital skills.
Future minority language users
Wikipedia is more than just a place to learn about the world. It's also a great tool for preserving and promoting minority languages, which are often under threat from larger, more dominant languages. For these reasons, we need to promote minority language use and skills among future generations.
In order to preserve these languages, we need to make them relevant in the digital age—and that means making sure they're represented on Wikipedia!
The open-source nature of Wikipedia means that we as individual users can affect real change. For example, the Welsh language Wikipedia has achieved gender parity in their biographies.