Africa Wiki Women/Overview

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Africa Wiki Women (AWW)

Overview edit

The African Wiki Women initiative stands as a transformative endeavor, addressing the stark underrepresentation of African women on Wikipedia and fostering their growth both within and beyond the Wikimedia community. This initiative recognizes the significant challenges and systemic disparities faced by women across the African continent, reflected in various sectors, including the digital domain.

In the context of Wikipedia, the world's largest online encyclopedia, the narratives and contributions of African women are notably scarce. This lack of representation is part of a broader digital landscape where global internet platforms and content are predominantly shaped by a minority, primarily Western, white, and male. Despite 58% of the global population having internet access, with 75% of these users hailing from the Global South and 45% being women, the digital sphere remains dominated by Western perspectives.

The gender gap among Wikipedia editors is a critical aspect of this issue. Women are significantly underrepresented in this role, which influences the content and quality of women-centric articles on the platform. This gap can be attributed to various factors, including cultural norms within the editing community, perceived neglect of women's interests, and potential barriers such as technological skills or confidence. Research, such as CIS A2K's work on bridging the gender gap and diversity, equity, and inclusion communications, delves deeper into these challenges.

The African Wiki Women initiative aims to foreground the voices and narratives of African women, enriching Wikipedia's content and ensuring fairer representation. By focusing on community-driven actions, research, and collaboration, the initiative seeks to bridge the existing gaps and highlight the diverse contributions of African women to global knowledge.

Additionally, this initiative extends beyond mere representation on Wikipedia. It encompasses providing both on-wiki and off-wiki skills training for female Wikimedians. Through targeted efforts such as training girls and women in digital tools like Google Suite and web design, offering mentorship and training support, and creating safe spaces for sharing resilience stories, the initiative aims to bolster the contributions of African women to various Wikimedia projects.

Unlike the Wiki Loves Women campaign, which focuses on multi-layered international activations to highlight women's voices, the African Wiki Women initiative serves as a regional community for African women who identify as Wikimedians. It aims to foster growth and also engage men who support gender equity, educating them on how they can promote and enhance the visibility of female Wikimedians in Africa and globally.

In essence, the African Wiki Women initiative is a comprehensive effort to not only address the underrepresentation of African women on Wikipedia but also to empower them with the necessary skills and support to thrive as contributors and leaders within the Wikimedia community.

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