It is considered to have more than 1.5 million biographies on Wikipedia in English for the year 2022, where 19% are dedicated to women. It clearly shows gender bias as one of the issues, just like other geopolitical issues. This is to be reflected in the community of Wikipedia editors, where 500 women scientists came together to create workshops for the contributors. This team of contributors manages the inequalities of the online encyclopedia. As a part of this team’s activities, they happen to undertake various projects and initiatives to achieve their goal, i.e. to minimize the Gender Gap.
WikiEducation, a non-profit organisation and a subsidiary of Wikipedia, partnered with Wikimedia Foundation and Academia to address the gender gap issue. This organisation aids in the creation and improvement of women’s biographies in the STEMM area. STEMM field deals with subjects like Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine. The organisation specifically focuses on black leaders, professionals with disabilities, and even the LGBTQ community. This process started back in 2018 and, to date, it has edited around 3000 wiki pages. This process has been increasing in the STEMM communities. It is believed to change the overview of science. There were women scientists like Rosalind Franklin, who discovered the DNA structure, and Alice Ball, who developed the treatment for leprosy, but their work remained underrated. Women and the LGBT community had to face several challenges that affected their advancement in the STEMM field.
The achievements of women and special groups should be used by the public relations departments to feature their achievements. This would improve their career advancements. The global platform for women and gender minorities called Gage was set up by almost 500 women scientists and is dedicated to creating a database to include experts from the STEMM field for writing their stories. Biographies with pictures attract more traffic. The pages that are selected by Wikipedia editors and are marked as featured articles include at least 5 images. However, it is difficult to find pictures of female scientists who have the proper license to upload to Wikimedia. While the images through UploadWizard and Flickr could be granted as they have the proper licence. According to Wikioo, a professional Wikipedia service provider, there can be a solution if someone wants to upload licensed images in Wikimedia commons. They do provide consultancy services for this purpose as well along with other Wikipedia editing services.
The chances of women’s biographies getting omitted are high. For example, the biography of physicist Donna Strickland was deleted after six minutes of becoming live. The deletion of the page was demoralising for those who created and edited the achievements. The creation of Wikipedia to eradicate social bias created an open forum for those who support equality. They celebrate the success stories of women and special community scientists to close the gap by providing financial support or any other activity.
In 2022, the number of biographies for women increased by 19.2% only. To close the gender gap and address geopolitical challenges, more writers and editors are needed. The challenges could be addressed by participating in various programmes on the gender gap and contributing to the setting of geopolitical goals. In 2018, the University of Toronto hired an editor for their Wikipedia page who would provide quality information for the general public. In 2021, a project called Project rewrite was launched, which called on journalists, leaders, and even organisations and individuals to try and close the gender gap.
To conclude, it must be kept in mind that Wikipedia is basically a reflection of our society may be a selective reflection if some might argue as being not proper, but still, it comprises of the individuals who belong to our society. Gender Bias or Gender Gap is a social issue which is why we can’t eradicate it completely without trying to address the root cause. Although there are different initiatives being undertaken by Wikimedia foundation in order to not only increase the articles on Women personalities, but also to increase the number of women contributors. While giving a great applause to such initiatives, it must not be forgotten that even with such selective measures, even if we improve the numbers in favor of women, it will hardly change the overall global scenario, which needs a dire and urgent change.