On Tuesday March 28, Fisher Library ran a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon as a part of Women’s History Month.
Edit-a-thons are organised events where members of an online community edit and improve a specific topic or type of content.
The Fisher Library event aimed to increase the representation of Australian women writers, scientists and scholars.
Currently, women make up just 12 per cent of Wikipedia contributors and 16 per cent of individuals profiled.
Over the course of the month, hundreds of Wikipedia Edit-a-thons focusing on women’s representation will be held around the world to improve these numbers.
Over 140 people registered for the Fisher Library event online.
Attendees included library staff, faculty members, current and former University of Sydney students, high school students, and other members of the public. The vast majority of participants on the day were women.
Over the course of the day-long event, organisers ran three introductory lessons about becoming a “Wikipedian”.
Participants had the option of editing remotely or joining in person at the library, with more than 40 profiles of noteworthy Australian women to choose from.
Event organiser Denise O’Dea of Sydney University Press said the idea came about after the Stellar Prize (a literary award for female Australian writers) ran a similar event in Melbourne in November last year.
“Wikipedia obviously has a gender problem, and [Fisher] library was in good position to do something similar,” O’Dea told Honi.
Jessie*, a year 11 student from Santa Sabina College in Strathfield, was there with her Legal Studies class, which is currently undertaking a module on gender inequality.
“Looking at the achievements of these women, it’s really surprising that they don’t have profiles. They have accomplished so much but no one knows about them, and they really should,” she said.
Many attendees expressed a similar sentiment. USyd student Lauren O’Neill said she saw the Edit-a-thon as a way to “do [her] bit” to improve the representation of women online.
Fisher Library is running a number of events for Women’s History Month. Details are available on the Library website.
*Names have been changed