Participants at the Wikipedia ‘Edit-a-thon’ event held at Surrey Art Gallery last year. (submitted photo: Pardeep Singh)

‘Edit-a-thon’ in Surrey aims to rid Wikipedia of ‘significant gender gap’

No prior knowledge of editing the free online encyclopedia is required, says an event advisory

Another Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon is planned at Surrey Art Gallery on March 14 in an effort to address “a significant gender gap” on the free online encyclopedia.

Starting at noon that Saturday, the four-hour event is designed to increase the representation of women and non-binary artists on Wikipedia, which is edited by volunteers around the world.

“Studies estimate that less than 15 per cent of [Wikipedia] contributors identify as women,” says an event advisory posted to surrey.ca. “Gender inequities on Wikipedia contribute to a bias in content and language, and the erasure of knowledges and histories.”

Surrey Art Gallery and Rungh Magazine, partners in the event for a second straight year, “would like to help address this gap and are inviting people of all gender identities and expressions to make an impact and support women, gender equality, feminism, and the arts on one of the world’s most popular sites. Learn how to research, create a user account, publish Wikipedia pages, and edit and maintain entries.”

Participants are asked to bring a laptop and power cord, and are encouraged to come with ideas for entries that need updating or creating. Pre-researched artists and artworks from Surrey Art Gallery’s permanent collection will also be available for entry.

“No prior knowledge or practice of editing Wikipedia is required,” says the event advisory. “However, to create new entries, participants must be registered Wikipedia users and have made 10 previous edits on existing pages.”

Those who have questions should email the gallery’s engagement facilitator at artgallery@surrey.ca or call 604-501-5566.

Wikipedia currently features 6,025,476 articles in English, according to a post on wikipedia.org.

A non-profit organization, Art+Feminism aims to foster “the improvement of content on feminism, gender & the arts on Wikipedia” by encouraging people to host and attend “one of the hundreds of edit-a-thons around the world in 2020,” including the one planned at Surrey Art Gallery.

“Since 2014, over 14,000 people at more than 1,100 events around the world have participated in our edit-a-thons, resulting in the creation and improvement of more than 58,000 articles on Wikipedia,” according to a post at artandfeminism.org.

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