Wikimedia Finland is organizing a month-long Wikipedia Women in Red contest this April to increase the number of articles about women and non-binary people. In honor of the UN International Year of Indigenous Languages, articles can be created and edited not only in Finnish, but also in all three Saami languages spoken in Finland: Northern Saami, Inari Saami, and Skolt Saami.
HELSINKI, FINLAND April 15th, 2019 The gender balance of articles in Wikipedia does not accurately reflect the gender balance of our society. Of all the biographies in the Finnish Wikipedia, only 19% of them are about women. This bias mainly stems from editors working on subjects they are interested in. In addition, the most important sources of information for Wikipedia articles — written material and the media — focus on the achievements of men. As the majority of editors are men, this has the effect of replicating the gender bias already written into history books.
While the situation in the Northern Saami Wikipedia is better, only slightly more than 30% of its articles are about women. The Inari and Skolt Saami Wikipedia incubator projects appear to be stellar examples of bridging the gap, but in reality, the only reason for more than 50% of their articles being about women is because there are very few articles, to begin with. Non-binary people fare even worse in these projects. The Northern Saami Wikipedia has one article about a non-binary person, while the Inari and Skolt Saami incubators have none.
Fixing the gender bias of articles is taken seriously by the entire Wikipedia community around the world. For example, the English Wikipedia’s Women in Red project has successfully raised the percentage of articles about women in the last four years from 15% to just shy of 18%. Wikimedia Finland has led the way here in Finland. In 2016, Wikimedia Finland and the Main Library of the University of Helsinki organized the 100 Women edit-a-thon where 100 articles about distinguished women were written in a single day. The month-long Finnish Women in Red competition in 2018 ended with more than 950 new articles about women having been written. The next month, Wikimedia Finland and the Swedish Embassy in Finland organized Wikigap Day, where even more articles about women were written.
Inspired by last year’s successes, Wikimedia Finland is organizing the competition again this year. The 3 highest ranked contributors based on points earned during the competition will win a Museum Card (Museokortti) and dinner after the chapter’s spring meeting. Anyone may participate in the competition by creating a user account in Wikipedia, registering for the competition on the competition page in the Finnish Wikipedia, and by contributing to articles about women or non-binary people in Finnish or one of the Saami languages listed above.
The name of the competition comes from links without articles in Wikipedia being red. Once an article has been created for a topic, this is depicted by a blue link. The goal of the competition is to turn as many of the red links for articles about women and non-binary people blue as possible.
- Mr. Kimmo Virtanen
- Coordinator at Wikimedia Finland
- E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org