‘WikiGap Edit-a thon’ set to start at IIT Bombay

| | Mumbai
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‘WikiGap Edit-a thon’ set to start at IIT Bombay

Saturday, 07 March 2020 | TN RAGHUNATHA | Mumbai

In a novel initiative undertaken in the run-up to the Women’s Day 2020, a WikiGap edit-a-thon is being organised at IIT Bombay as a step towards making a more gender-equal Wikipedia, a more gender-equal internet and a more gender-equal world.

The “WikiGap edit-a-thon” – hosted jointly by the Consulate General of Sweden, Mumbai will be hosting a WikiGap edit-a-thon at IIT Bombay in association with WikiMedia India, Idobro Impact Solutions, Centre for Policy Studies and several departments from IIT Bombay – got off to a start on Friday, with an introductory and technical session on March 6th. The event will conclude on March 9.

“Women’s representation on Wikipedia is quite low compared to that of men. Globally, there are 4 times more articles about men than women on Wikipedia. Nine out of 10 Wikipedia editors are men,” an IIT-B spokesperson said.

WikiGap is a global initiative that aims to take a step towards making a more gender-equal Wikipedia, a more gender-equal internet and a more gender-equal world. It involves inviting people to ‘edit-a-thons’ to strengthen women's rights, representation and resources on Wikipedia.

“Equality between women and men is a fundamental aim of the Swedish feminist foreign policy. Through WikiGap, Sweden aims to bridge the gender gap on Wikipedia. Since young citizens are decision-makers of tomorrow, they have been the focus for this initiative. We are glad to host WIKIGAP at IIT Bombay in partnership with WikiMedia India and Idobro,” Bjorn Holmgren, Consul, Consulate General of Sweden, Mumbai said

“The theme is in line with Sweden’s Tekla initiative that encourages young women to take up STEM sciences. IIT Bombay, being a leading Science university globally, is an ideal partner for WikiGap,” Holmgren

Rahul Deshmukh, President of WikiMedia India said, “Currently, Wikipedia is available in 301 languages, of which the English edition is the largest with over 5.8 million articles. The female (47%) to male readership ratio (53%) is approximately the same. However, only 16% females convert themselves to editors. To bridge this gap, several initiatives have been undertaken worldwide”

“Since 2014, Wikimedia India has also been striving to bridge this gender gap through its annual ‘Women’s Edit-a-thon’ activity around World Women’s day,” Deshmukh said.

Prof. Swati Patankar, Dean (International Relations) and Faculty in Department of BioSciences and Bioengineering, IIT Bombay, said: “Women have made enormous contributions in sciences, politics and social empowerment and continue to do so. Yet the recognition for these women is not as widespread as it should be. Today, Wikipedia is one of the most widely used online tools. WikiGap is an exciting initiative to strengthen women's rights, resources and representation online and IIT Bombay is delighted to be a part of this initiative together with the Consulate General of Sweden in Mumbai and Idobro Impact Solutions.”

Karon Shaiva, Managing Director, Idobro Impact Solutions said, “Idobro and Rise Infinity Foundation seeks to co-create solutions by bringing the 4 key stakeholders together - Government, Academia, Industry and Civil Society. International Women’s Day helps to increase the awareness around women issues and the gaps that exist in society at multiple levels.”

Prof. Shishir Jha, Professor and Head of Department, Centre for Policy Studies said, “Our world views are shaped by our daily experiences, which in turn is molded by the societal structures and positions that we occupy. Both rationality and logic are not entirely invariant. There are, in other words, many possible ways to logically engage with the world. A woman's viewpoint could arguably be more inclusive and comprehensive, in many areas of life, because of her daily experiences.

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