Women’s History Museum of Zambia and the Embassy of Sweden in Lusaka are cooperating with Wikipedia to highlight Zambian women. With this initiative, we want to increase the number of narratives on Wikipedia of Zambian women who have contributed to the country’s traditional and contemporary history and help to make the internet more gender-equal by reducing the gap.
Wikipedia is the world’s largest online and user-generated encyclopaedia. Its content influences and colours users’ knowledge about the world. But there is great imbalance on the website, like in society at large. Ninety per cent of the content is created by men, and there are four times more articles about men than there are about women. The figures vary regionally, but the picture is the same all over the world: the information about women is not only less extensive than that about men, it is also more negative and different in character.
To contribute to a more accurate picture, the Women’s History Museum, the Embassy of Sweden and Wikipedia through Wikimedia Community Zambia have taken the initiative for the #WikiGap edit-a-thon in Zambia.
“The WikiGap Zambia 2021 event aims to expand Wikipedia’s resources on Zambia in a fair and accurate manner and to reduce the gender gap so that more Zambian women can be known to the international community”, said Chabota Kanguya, Wikimedia Community Zambia. Chabota is a Zambian Wikipedia editor and has created 73 articles on Wikipedia since he joined as a Wiki-editor in November 2011. “I am very excited to introduce Chichewa Wikipedia to the Zambian editors. Chichewa Wikipedia has been online since 2004, but is now fully active as of 2018”, said Chabota who has been facilitated the WikiGap event today.
The stories will be accessible to the public from today, 2 December 2021. The Zambian Wiki-editors (Wikipedia writers) have spent the last 8 hours writing stories about women that were selected by the public through a nomination call earlier. A shortlist of 61 women, organisations and ceremonies was earmarked for documentation and today 14 articles will be published on Wikipedia with a continued process of documentation to carry on after this process.
“This initiative is a central part of the Women History Museum’s mandate to restore obscured narratives of women’s histories and influence how information about African women is curated, distributed and consumed,” said co-founder of the Women’s History Museum, Mulenga Kapwepwe.
The Embassy of Sweden in Lusaka has supported the project in line with Sweden’s feminist foreign policy, which is based on the ambition to strengthen women’s and girls’ rights, representation and resources.
“The goal of achieving gender equality is fundamentally a human rights issue. The #WikiGap initiative primarily concerns representation, which in turns concerns reflecting the world as it actually appears. We want to see women’s profiles documented at the same rate as men, represented in all contexts, including on the Internet. The #WikiGap Zambia initiative is timely indeed and links to the Swedish Feminist Foreign Policy”, said HE Anna Maj Hultgård, Swedish Ambassador to Zambia and EU Gender Champion to Zambia.
The list of women stories that have gone live today include updates and new entries. Updates have been added to Zambian women such as Namwali Serpell, Lulu Haangala Wood and Esther Phiri. New entries include Laura Miti and Natasha Omokhodion Banda.
The Zambian Wiki-editor will continue to collaborate with the public in order to keep adding to the women’s profile list. Wikipedia is an open source platform and allows for people to add and edit information.