How can we help to deepen the presence of women online? Why is it important to make women visible online? The Internet, as an extension of the world we physically inhabit, reflects and deepens numerous social injustices, which includes gender-based injustice. Experiencing the web without being able to (literally) see women who have excelled and continue to do so in all sorts of areas – from science and business to sports and art – is a key symptom of the wider problem of gender inequality.
Despite our achievements, we continue to find our stories and faces are still missing online. At the same time, we also know that the Internet has great potential for change, and that’s what we love about it. Change is within every click we decide to make, within every image we decide to share.
That is why we launched the #VisibleWikiWomen campaign as a pilot last year. In collaboration with our wonderful friends and allies, we decided to make a call for people to donate and/or upload photos of notable women into Wikimedia Commons. Our goal was to illustrate articles of women on Wikipedia which didn’t have a picture yet and increase the number of freely licensed images of women on Commons. We thought the campaign would bring 100 new images to Commons in a month, but the campaign ended up adding about a thousand photos to Commons, and at least 500 to Wikipedia!
Beyond the successful number of images the campaign brought online, this experience showed us that there is not only the need but also a considerable interest to increase women’s visibility online. We saw Wikimedians, feminist and human rights organizations, and allies from around the world coming together in their own way to make women visible on Wikipedia and the broader internet. We’ve learned a lot and all that energy inspired us so much that we’ve decided to do it again this year!
We are excited for the upcoming launch of our #VisibleWikiWomen campaign 2019 – 8 March, international women’s day! The campaign has a new logo and page on Commons, we will have more super amigxs and friends joining us this year, and our goal is to add 1600 images to Commons. We will share more updates in the coming weeks and also during the campaign.
Wherever you are in the world, we’d love you to join us! Here are some ways to do that:
- Think about all the important women who inspire you, and see if they have images on Wikipedia. If not, learn how the campaign works and how to participate, and how to make your inspirations visible
- Follow the #VisibleWikiWomen hashtag on social media, and help to spread the word
- Be part of our super amigxs and friends in collaboration. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help you get started. If you are planning an event or edit-a-thon from March 8th to May 8th, make sure to include this campaign as part of your event activities. For instance, if notable women are being celebrated at these events, you can take good pictures of them for Wikipedia!
Finally, we want to welcome Mariana Fossatti back to Whose Knowledge? as the #VisibleWikiWomen 2019 coordinator. Mariana is a wikipedian from Uruguay, and also a sociologist, visual artist, and activist in free culture, digital rights, and feminism.
With Mariana, the entire Whose Knowledge? team is counting the days… we can’t wait to join forces with you to make more women visible on Wikipedia and the Internet!