Only about 15% of Wikipedia editors around the world are women. This gender disparity among Wikipedians is a big problem in itself, but there is also an unfortunate corollary – Wikipedia lacks articles about many people, but disproportionately these missing articles are about women. It is impossible to create a complete and true encyclopaedia without the knowledge of women and about women. That is why one of the aims of CEE Spring Wikipedia writing contest is to help close the gender gap.
CEE Spring 2016 is an international article writing contest during which Wikimedians from Central and Eastern Europe write and expand articles about the region on every Wikipedia in the region. Central and Eastern Europe has produced many outstanding women, such as the scientist Marie Curie, writer Svetlana Alexievich, or artist Marina Abramović. We want the knowledge about the life, work and achievements of those and other notable women to be easily accessible in all languages of Central and Eastern Europe.
To achieve this, we encourage the participants of CEE Spring Wikipedia competition to write about CEE women related to sport, politics, art, literature, science by using proposed article lists. These lists were prepared by Wikipedia volunteer communities who agreed on which articles about their country they would like to see appearing in every possible language from the region. Biographies of women on those lists are clearly identified among these lists to help volunteers find inspiration for writing a missing article about a notable CEE women much more easily. Many participants admit that browsing through the list caused them to discover inspiring and fascinating stories about incredible women from the region.
There are also communities who felt that this kind of encouragement is not enough. Some countries (including Bulgaria, Greece and Poland) deicded to award special prizes for wikipedians who would write most, or best, biographical articles about women during the contest.
Our efforts seem to be bringing results! More than 500 articles about women have been already created or improved during the contest. Almost 65% of new biographies created in Polish and Bulgarian Wikipedia are about women. Wikipedia readers in many languages can now discover fascinating stories such as that of the Austrian professor Elise Richter – the first woman to receive a habilitation; the Ukrainian feminist and writer Olha Kobylianska, known for her novels portraying women and discussing a variety of women’s issues; or the Russsian mathematician Olga Ladýzhenskaya, notable for her work related to the Navier-Stokes equations.
There are still a lot of notable CEE women related to politics, sports, art and science who are waiting for their Wikipedia articles in many languages. So please join us in our fight to overcome the content gender gap and to make the knowledge about CEE women accesible to readers of all countries of the region!