What is history but what we write about history? Our culture, our very civilization, is based around our written records. Cultural importance, longevity, and influence are invariably granted to those about whom the most words have been written.
In honor of International Women’s Day (Sunday, March 8), you can help write more words about women in the arts, and therefore substantially improve the visibility of women on the most accessible and widely used reference tool we currently use on a day-to-day basis: Wikipedia.
Whereas nearly every student, journalist, and casual researcher uses Wikipedia (sometimes as their sole source of information), according to a 2011 study, less than 13 percent of Wikipedia editors and writers are women. Sponsored by the Art+Feminism group, the second annual Wikipedia Edit-a-thon aims to balance things out a bit.
On Saturday March 7, the flagship group will join forces at MoMA, where participants will help expand, edit, and create new articles about women in the arts, history, and scholarship, thereby helping to fill in the lacuna of knowledge, which, by its very absence, often goes unnoticed or forgotten.
Experienced Wikipedians will be on hand to help guide volunteers through the process of editing Wikipedia, and Art+Feminism’s Tumblr offers video tutorials and training guides. As of this writing, there are 74 satellite events planned throughout the month of March, from New Zealand to Peru. If there isn’t one near you, you can participate online by joining the Edit-a-thon on Google Hangouts.
Consider the impact: not only will the Edit-a-thon help create and expand hundreds of Wikipedia articles, it will hopefully create and train hundreds of new Wikipedia editors, who will continue their work, steadily filling in the gap in our written history, for years to come.
(Image courtesy of Art + Feminism http://artandfeminism.tumblr.com/)