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Wiki Edit-a-Thon to Improve Diversity on Wikipedia – Join Us!

20th September 2018
By Suze Kundu

For the past few years, Digital Science has supported Ada Lovelace Day[1], the annual celebration of the contributions that women have made to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). This year, alongside sponsoring ALD Live, the flagship event of the campaign being held at the IET on 9th October 2018, Digital Science is also facilitating a collection of Wikipedia Edit-a-Thons[2] across the UK and beyond around the big day.

Currently, there are five confirmed Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon hubs that will meet on 8th or 9th October, with more hubs being set up as we speak.

The aim of each of these hubs is to increase the diversity of the pages on Wikipedia. Statistics from the Wikipedia Foundation’s 2011 survey[3] showed that only a tenth of contributors to Wikipedia were women, and only 17% of Wikipedia articles were about women. Of the pages that do exist, many have displayed a gender bias in language used and content covered, mentioning family and gender more if the person being written about is female. It has also been suggested that there is an imbalance in internet skills between men and women, which could further contribute to this under-representation of women on Wikipedia.

Wikipedia set out to address the gender imbalance, initially setting a goal of increasing the percentage of women editors from 10% in 2011 to 25% in 2015, however, founder Jimmy Wales himself admitted that they had “completely failed”[4] to meet this goal. To continue pressing for greater representation, Wikipedia started running Edit-a-Thons. Each one is focused on increasing awareness of Wikipedia’s gender imbalance, training more women editors, and creating more pages about women that focus on their achievements instead of just their home lives. Many of these have a specific theme or area of interest, and most of the editors that do emerge from these Edit-a-Thons are entirely new Wikipedia contributors with expert knowledge in their respective fields.

Given that our own Edit-a-Thons are being set up to support the work of Ada Lovelace Day, each hub will be focusing on highlighting women and diversity in a range of fields. In our Central London hub for example, our focus will be on increasing diversity in STEM content on Wikipedia, with a particular focus on creating biographies of a range of award-winning STEM superstars. Other hubs will be focusing more specifically on other groups, for example, women and diversity in tech, art, business, social entrepreneurship and the underrepresented women in STEM from the North of England.

We want to widen the diversity discussion around this day from just being about gender to being about all strands of diversity.

Part of the reason for this is to showcase a range of role models. Studies have shown that a diverse range of real people can increase interest and engagement of underrepresented groups with STEM, and can influence young people to consider studying STEM at a higher level, in line with the goals of Ada Lovelace Day. Furthermore, the 2017 WISE report on Women in the STEM workforce[5] states that only 23% of the STEM workforce is made up of women. Given that women make up around 50% of the total population, this number is unrepresentative of society as a whole, so the creation of new articles by women about women should contribute to this main goal.

In the spirit of collaboration, something that science relies on to progress, Digital Science are thrilled to be working with a range of partners to run these Edit-a-Thon hubs, including Stemettes, Girls In Science, Ogunté, The Zebra Partnership and Girls Code.

Confirmed Hubs and Focus:

  • Digital Science Hub: Women and Diversity in Science – Monday 8th October, 5 – 9pm, London REGISTER NOW
  • Stemettes Hub: Diversity in STEM (girls aged 15+) – Tuesday 9th October, 5-8pm, London REGISTER NOW
  • Zebra Partnership Hub: Women and Diversity in the Arts, Business & Social Entrepreneurship – Tuesday 9th October, 1 – 9pm, Manchester REGISTER NOW
  • Women’s Equality Party Hub: Women of the North of England – Tuesday 9th October, 7 – 9pm, Stockport REGISTER NOW
  • Girls Code Hub: Diversity in Technology – Tuesday 9th October, 7 – 10pm, Milton Keynes REGISTER NOW

Our Wiki Edit-a-Thon page will be updated with more hubs and registration links as and when they are confirmed. Watch this space! Don’t see a hub near you? Read on!

Want to Run Your Own Wiki Edit-a-Thon Hub?

We are in the process of setting up more hubs, so if you are interested in leading one of these, get in touch with us at You don’t have to be an expert to get involved!


[1] Ada Lovelace Day page

[2] Digital Science Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon

[3] Gender Bias on Wikipedia

[4] Jimmy Wales, Wikipedia “completely failed” to meet women editor target

[5] WISE report

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