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Liverpool Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon

17th April 2019
By Guest Author

Author Bio: Emily Cotter is the Events and Communications Manager at Liverpool Girl Geeks and InnovateHer.

Wikipedia has an average of 18 billion page views per month. It is a font of knowledge for many millennials, yet in 2011 only 10% of Wikipedia contributors were women, and in 2018 only 17% of entries on this online encyclopaedia were about women. We desperately wanted to do something about Wikipedia’s gender imbalance, especially as there are so many incredible women achieving the impossible in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) that deserve to have their stories told and heard by the next generation of STEM superstars. Last month, InnovateHer) teamed up with STEMettes and Digital Science to inspire a group of women and teenage girls to become Wikipedia Editors and sing the song of these unsung ‘Sheros’.

The team introduce the Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon to attendees

InnovateHer is a social enterprise on a mission to improve the gender balance in the technology sector by getting girls ready for the tech industry, and the industry ready for girls. We currently run an 8-week industry-led programme in schools around the North West where we teach girls digital skills and showcase the range of career opportunities in the technology sector. We aim to expand our work further, and run our programmes in schools across the whole of the United Kingdom. We also work closely with a network of organisations to help them diversify their recruitment process and culture, ensuring that they go on to attract a diverse range of talent. Like ourselves, STEMettes are a community interest company on a mission to inspire the next generation of women in STEM. They do this through a series of inspiring panel events, hackathons, exhibitions and mentoring schemes. We have long admired the work STEMettes do and couldn’t wait to write history with them.

During our three hour Edit-a-Thon we introduced the concept and basic skills required of editing to a group of 20 women and girls. We made a total of 10 edits to pages of notable women in STEM, including Ann Hornschemeier, Anita Sengupta and Ruth Payne-Scott, adding images and infoboxes, as well as amending the inaccuracies on some of the pages. 9 out of these 10 edits remain live on Wikipedia today, which we are extremely proud of.

The attendees of the event celebrate their achievements as new Wikipedia Editors

Much like Digital Science’s Edit-a-Thon for Ada Lovelace Day back in October 2018, our ultimate aim was also to inspire a group of diverse Editors to embark on their Wikipedia editing journey, and encourage them to continue to help improve the gender balance on Wikipedia one small edit at a time. After attending the Edit-a-Thon we were pleased to hear that all of the women and girls were confident in their editing ability and would continue to edit Wikipedia after the event. Following the event, one of our Editors said:

“I now know where to start and what is an appropriate source. Thanks for a super fun evening!”

We were so inspired by the women and girls who attended the event and we hope this newly formed group of Editors go on to publish an array of diverse articles, improving the representation issue both online and in real life.

These Edit-a-Thons are just one way in which you can help us achieve our mission. Find out more about how you can get involved here and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. To see more Tweets about the event view our Twitter moment here.


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