On the 12th October, an international 24 hour editing marathon will start in Aotearoa New Zealand to improve the coverage of women in Wikipedia. The relay of volunteer editing starts midday in Aotearoa and continues with Australians joining in, passing the baton from timezone to timezone. The event in the UK starts at 2pm UK time finishing back in Aotearoa New Zealand 10 hours later.
The event runs for a whole day to ensure that anyone with access to a computer, anywhere in the world, can join at a time when they are free to. In the UK with the easing of covid restrictions, it is possible to join either in person or online.
Participants will learn how to edit Wikipedia, working from redlists of notable women in science and mathematics who do not yet have Wikipedia articles. Everyone’s efforts will be contributing to reducing the online gender gap.
The event is organised by the international group Women in Red, a volunteer organisation within Wikipedia whose aim is to reduce the gender gap in the disportionate number of Wikipedia biographies devoted to men. It takes its name from red links in the online encyclopedia; ones which are yet to have a corresponding article. Women in Red was started six years ago in Mexico by two volunteers, a British and an American, and now has thousands of followers and hundreds of active editors but no budget, office, or hierarchy. When the group was formed, 85% of Wikipedia biographies were about men. Since then the community has created over 167,000 new articles about women, at a rate of about 70 a day. Together participants work in parallel on Wikipedias in over 30 other languages to reduce the online gender gap and give visibility to notable women from the past and present.
The date chosen, 12th October, is Ada Lovelace Day, named after the 19th century British mathematician, daughter of the mathematician Lady Byron and Lord Byron. Ada is regarded as the world’s first computer programmer. Ada Lovelace Day celebrates women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics).
The online encyclopaedia Wikipedia began in 2001 and now has 6 million articles in English and over twenty million more in hundreds of other languages. It is now the eighth most visited website and one of the few that is run by a non-profit. The Wikimedia Foundation, based in San Francisco, keeps Wikipedia running but major decisions about its content and future direction are made by the global community. All the content is written and kept up to date by about 250,000 active volunteers around the world.
For more information on how to join the UK editathon see the Wikipedia event page. For more detail on the global event go to WikiAda24.org.