CIS-A2K has been putting more emphasis on understanding and bridging the gender gap in the Indic language Wikipedia communities. Over fifteen gender gap bridging events have been conducted so far during the current grant period in the four language areas (Kannada, Marathi, Odia, and Telugu). An independent researcher in the team has collected interviews and survey data through her action research on the gender imbalance in Indic language Wikipedia communities. The research helps us shed more light on the improvement needed in interventions conducted and the essentiality to raise gender sensitivity in the community.
In the 2017-2018 grant period, CIS-A2K will attempt to address the Wikipedia gender gap(s) in a more holistic and sustainable way by embedding the gender gap bridging initiatives in our practices in each community and program. That is, instead of seeing bridging the gender gap as a stand-alone theme, the team considers that the focus of women's participation, content creation, and gender sensitization should be a significant cross-cutting factor for all work plan activities. The goal is to initiate (and continue) the dialogue in all our areas of work (WEP, GLAM, skill building initiatives, etc.), rather than labeling only a small number of events as "gender-gap-bridging" effort in a certain period of time in a year.
Gender gap awareness session at Andhra Loyola College, Vijayawada
In the grant period of July 2016 to June 2017, CIS-A2K has been conducting various gender gap bridging events including edit-a-thons, awareness sessions, and women's workshops. We also established strong partnership with the Delhi-based human rights and feminist NGO, Breakthrough, through collaborating in many events. With the action research focusing on women's participation in Indic language Wikipedias, CIS-A2K members have demonstrated increased attention and strong interest in the gender gap bridging initiatives. Some challenges faced and items of improvements include:
Lack of followup of events that share the same themes and consist the same participants
Many events were conducted for English Wikipedia editing rather than in Indic languages due to the challenges in finding local language sources
Need of more female Wikipedian tutors in events that focus on women
Gender sensitization and friendly space guidelines have not been emphasized or prioritized enough in gender gap bridging initiatives and activities
The absence of Code of Conduct/Friendly Space policies or proper enforcement of the said guidelines in community activities and events
To materialize this cross-cutting theme initiative, Three main work plan ideas on bridging the gender gap is created. From Systematic changes to the improvement of outreach and activities, CIS-A2K aims to create tangible improvement in the local communities that are more sustainable and human-central. Under each of the three main plans are two to three smaller components that highlight different actions required to meet the objectives. The aims of these actions are not to merely change the "numbers" (ratio, editor counts, page counts, etc.) in event performance. Instead, it is to improve the environment and practices in the long term to make Indic Wikimedia communities more inclusive, welcoming, and alert of the Wikipedia gender gap issue.
Guidelines localization and enforcement
GLAM and NGO collaboration
Training session for gender sensitization
Service in events and activities
Recognition and tangible impacts diagnosis
Balancing gender ratio in events and programs
Strengthen Wikiwomen communities
Plan 1: Guidelines localization and enforcementEdit
A Code of Conduct poster for the MediaWiki Training held by CIS-A2K
On the other hand, CIS-A2K had created an event Code of Conduct for our latest Train the Trainer (TTT) in February 2017. A poster was designed afterwards for the MediaWiki Training and posted at the event venue to draw more attendees' attention to the rules. We consider it the best practice for all community activities to adopt the same or similar rules in the future. A code of conduct sample will be posted on the Village Pump and mailing list discussion to further promote this initiative. For more informal and regular community activities such as meetups and social, a simplified version of the Code of Conduct (friendly space rule) should be in place. All community events supported and/or coordinated by CIS A2K in the following grant period will be required to have a Code of Conduct or friendly space rule, and all attendees and organizers should be made aware of it.
Creation of clear policy proposal procedure guide book/tutorials for community members
Discussion and consultation on Village Pump, mailing list, and community meetups regarding policy localization
Code of Conduct localization discussion in community meetups
Basic friendly space rule discussion and publication
Code of Conduct poster design contest in each focus language area
At least 2 policy pages (include policy, guidelines, manuals, gender related Wikiproject page, how-to, and information pages) should be localized and published.
At least 1 version of event Code of Conduct (in local language) should be established in each focus language area
The basic friendly space rule should be developed in each focus language community for informal meetups and activities
All events supported and/or coordinated by CIS-A2K will have an event Code of Conduct (and a response team) in place and all participants (including delegates, speakers, guests, organizers, staff members) will be made aware of the said rules
A Response Team refers to an internal crew that responds to incidences regarding violation of the event rules or any emergency situation. Members of the response team can be part of the organizing team but are required to be. A person, regardless of his/her gender, is only eligible to become a response team member if she/he has received some gender sensitization training.
Higher awareness level of friendly rules and policies in the communities
Event organizers and delegates are more alert and responsible of their actions and behaviors
Plan 2: Training session for gender sensitizationEdit
It was brought to our notice that there is still much need for gender sensitization in the communities and even in the CIS-A2K team. It is not to say that volunteers and/or team members have performed malicious behavior, but the level of gender sensitivity in communication, event planning, and execution of activities could have been improved in a few cases. Gender sensitization consists the effort to understand questions like "what is gender," "why gender factors matter," and "how to interact with people of different genders in a more unbiased, considerate, and open-minded way." In the current and previous years, CIS-A2K has had the fortune to work with some feminist organizations and Women's Study departments but the collaboration has not expanded from the scope of Edit-a-thon coordination. In the 2017-18 grant period, these network and resources will be further mobilized and considered as an asset to improve the community environment and program practices.
A presentation on bridging the Wikipedia Gender Gap and raising awareness during TTT 2017
Gender sensitization training session for team members (held by professional)
Awareness campaign to crowdsource community members' opinions (through text, videos, or images) on why gender diversity matters and to share what can be improved in our practices
In (mini) Train the Trainer (TTT) events, a mandatory workshop should be conducted by professional to build gender sensitization in the community
In WEP, introduction sessions on the Wikipedia gender gap issue and gender sensitization of online collaboration culture will be mandatory in program syllabi
Gender sensitization session for CIS A2K team members
Mandatory workshops on gender sensitization in (mini) Train the Trainer (TTT)
Create a meta category to showcase an document the campaign of gender sensitization in Wikimedian communities
Higher gender sensitivity of community members and CIS A2K members in program conduct
Constitute a more friendly space for women members in the community to share their thoughts and experience
Violation of policy proposal procedure: Policies, guidelines, and other namespace pages have to be proposed and discussed before being published. In this process, it will be extremely important to have experienced Wikipedians and admins as guides and monitors. Newer editors are welcome to join the discussion.
Priority setting: Guidelines and policies related to gender gap bridging may not appear as a "priority" to the community members. In cases that a community would like to localize other policies rather than the said ones, support should still be given but a gender gap related page should be in the second order.
Low incentives: Translating, localizing, and reviewing guideline pages is a complicated task requiring high level of dedication, skills, and much time. It is very important to create incentives for volunteers, such as prizes, barnstars, media recognition etc.
To continue the partnership we have with institutions and NGOs who share the same belief in bridging the gender gap and women empowerment, the collaboration we had with these partners should become more regular and sustainable. Many individual events have been conducted but there has been a lack of followups. To address this situation, CIS A2K intend to provide more agency to our partners and to partner them more closely with the local Wikimedian communities. That is, in future practices, CIS-A2K will attempt to connect these institutions and organizations to the local language communities as the first step. As a liaison, CIS-A2K will encourage the two parties to exercise more agency to initiate collaboration ideas and share resources and local network.
Edit-a-thons and follow up events in collaboration with GLAM and NGO partners that possess reference materials on women-related subjects
Introduce the partners to global gender gap bridging initiatives and hold events that connect their local effort to global movement
Train-a-Wikipedian sesions in GLAM institutions and NGOs to encourage (female) staff members to join Wikimedia projects and to establish the network between the partner and the local community
Encourage material donation from the partners to enrich other Wikimedia projects
Meet the partners - introduce our GLAM and NGO partners to local community members through community meetups or mailing list announcement
Maintain relationship with existing GLAM and NGO partners
Establish 3 more institutional partnership with NGOs or GLAM institutes that work on gender-related subjects
Hold at least 1 gender-related Wikipedia event per focus language area and organize at least 1 followup activity for each event
Meet the gender gap bridging partner (community meetups)
Train-a-Wikipedian sessions in at least 2 partner institutes
Strength and expand CIS-A2K's institutional and organizational partnership in gender gap bridging initiatives
Community members are able to contact and work with the GLAM and NGO partners in the long term
Higher awareness (among local GLAM and NGO network) about the Indic language Wikimedia projects as well as the Wikipedia gender gap issue
In community events and activities, female participants' convenience, comfort, and safety should be paid more attention to.
Create a checklist of event venue facility and services that are necessary to ensure women participants' comfort and safety, such as:
Female safety analysis on the event venue and accommodation facility (if applicable)
Sufficient accessible, safe, and clean washrooms for both men and women
Transportation arrangement (pick-up and drop-off) for female participants attending/leaving an event that run late/early
Childcare service and feeding room at event venue (inquired before events and made available if requested)
Submission of the checklist (pre-event) should be mandatory for all events supported and/or coordinated by the CIS-A2K
Support should be given to all community event/activity planners who may need support in providing these services
Record of the pre-event checklist and post-event reflection on what went well and what else was needed should be documented and evaluated for better practices
Women can register and attend Wikipedia events with more assurence and less worries on their safety
Women with young children to look over can benefit from the childcare facility and will not miss out the event opportunity
Higher awareness and sense of responsibility of community event organizers
Plan 3: Balancing gender ratio in events and programsEdit
Balancing the gender ratio in all events regardless of the event themes is crucial to grow community inclusiveness and a sense of belonging for all
It is extremely important to include more female and male participants in all activities and events. Although women-only events can be more comfortable for first time participants, in followup events and longer running programs, it is crucial to hold cross-gender interaction and dialogue. In events that are not in gender-related themes, notice should be posted that women's participation are strongly encouraged. On the other hand, in typical gender gap-bridging events, male members' participation should be widely encouraged so long as it does not override women's participation.
At least 2 community events, regardless of themes, in each focus language area per year will fulfill the gender maximum rule that no more than 60% of attendees should identify themselves as the same gender.
Event organizers should make notice on the event page and social media that the event is open to all genders and that female participants (or male participants for gender-related events) are especially welcome.
At least 2 community events per focus language area will fulfill the gender maximum rule
Notice and announcement of all genders' participation encouragement should be posted on the event meta pages and social media
More engagement of men and women in all events
More cross-gender dialogue held for gender gap bridging initiatives
Avoid exclusion and tokenism: Capping a gender maximum percentage is to encourage a more balanced demographics of event participants. In other words, the plan should be considered as a best practice goal for a more genderly diverse event environment. It is not, however, to reject or exclude interested participants of any certain genders from attending. It is also crucial to note that every participant's attendance and opinions should be considered equally important and valid; and that a person is much more than simply his/her gender identity.
Avoid gender binarism: Although the words "male" and "female" are used in the proposal, we are aware of the existence of other gender identities. All events and activities will be LGBTQ-friendly.
Women's Day Edit-a-thon at Jeewan Jyoti Vocational Centre, Ambawane village (Pune District)
CIS-A2K is aware that the gender gap is not a singular phenomenon in Wikipedia and that "gender" should not be a standalone label without taking intersectional factors into account, such as a woman's race, caste, class, and different-ability. In the 2017-18 grant period we aim to bring in broader awareness about the Wikipedia gender gap initiatives to women in different sectors, regions, and interests. So far we have been successful in reaching to female students in post-secondary institutions and female professionals in the science academic disciplines. Our recruitment should, however, be beyond these fields and settings. On the other hand, more collaboration with other Open Source communities will also be initiated to help us learn from other communities who share the same concern.
Participate in conferences and events outside of the Wikimedia community to raise awareness of the Wikipedia gender gap issue
Outreach activity and edit-a-thon events for women working in different sectors and academic fields
Hold basic Wikipedia workshops outside of the main cities (within the focus language areas) to reach women in different regions and background.
Using Software Freedom Day, OpenCon, and other Open Source events to raise the awareness of Wikipedia gender gap and to learn from other FOSS communities
Reach more women from different sectors, interest, and background, making them aware of the local language Wikimedia projects and how they can contribute
Raise awareness on gender and its cross-cutting factors (castes, race, etc.)
Establish network from other FOSS communities and learned about their gender gap bridging initiatives
Plan 2: Recognition and tangible impact diagnosisEdit
"100 Women Editathon" held at Odisha's biggest news agency Sambad (March 2017)
In order to reach more women and help more women stay active, incentives and regular recognition should be given. This include from small gestures like WikiLove to more significant ones like press mention. Additionally, tangible impacts and benefits of women and their contribution to Wikimedia projects should be discussed and shared among members as a form of encouragement.
Send post-event automatic message to remind and encourage new Wikipedians to keep editing
Work closely with agency and consultants to increase the media exposure of Wikipedia gender gap bridging initiatives
Utilize social media strategies to highlight events and community volunteers' stories
Interview active female Wikipedians about the tangible benefit they gain from contributing to Wikimedia projects (used as outreach material)
More women are aware of their local language Wikipedias/Wikimedia projects and how they can contribute
New (female) Wikipedians feel appreciated and recognized by their first time efforts
More content coverage on (and contribution from) women with different background and interests
Higher exposure of the gender gap bridging initiatives in the media
A women's community in specific region can be helpful to strengthen the bonding and support network among female Wikimedians. Local groups like Mangaluru Wikiwomen strive for creating a women's space and close-knitted community across languages.
Contact female Wikimedians in different cities to set up a contact network with other local Wikiwomen
Support and coordinate regular (monthly or bi-monthly) Wikiwomen meetups
Edit-a-thons and workshop conducting
Wikiwomens' community can provide resource persons (such as female tutors) for other activities in the language communities
At least 1 Wikiwomen meetup held in each focus language area
Create Whatsapp/social media groups for Wikiwomen in the same regions or language communities
Strengthen the bonding between female Wikimedians
Create a support network for women when they need help
Cross-Wikiwomen group communication and experience sharing
Internet facility in rural areas: A main challenge of conducting events outside of the main cities or institutional environment is ensuring decent internet access and facility. For participants with mobile phones, Wikipedia App can be downloaded and used for editing. Dongles and other internet equipment must be prepared by the CIS-A2K team or local partners to ensure internet access.
Question regarding representation of knowledge: It is an important initiative to consider the intersectional factors along with one's gender identity. However, when holding events with themes regarding the minority groups of women, such as Dalit women and tribal women, we must be extra cautious about our (and participants') positionality. Although it may not always be feasible to have members from the minority groups to join editing, it is of best practice to have at least a small number of experts as representatives of the groups as event consultants. References used in the articles created during the the events should also be reviewed to ensure it is an unbiased representation of their knowledge and identities.
Avoid a "closed" community: Although it is important to set up Wikiwomen's groups and establish women's support network, it is not to be a "closed" community as cross-gender dialogue cannot be sacrificed. Wikiwomen's groups will stand in solidarity with the larger language communities to address the gender gap issue in an open and collaborative fashion.
Due to the gender gap bridging research activities and interviews conducted during July 2016 - June 2017 grant period, the number of active female editors involved had been higher in the 2016 December Progress Report. The proposed number in this July 2017 - June 2018 work plan is lowered as the research is expected to be finalized before July 2017.
Number of female new editors
Number of female individuals involved
Number of articles added or improved for Women in Red Project (or other gender gap bridging global initiatives)
Absolute value of bytes added to or deleted from Wikimedia projects that are associated to Women in Red Project (or other gender gap bridging global initiatives)