Wikimedia Girl Geek Dinner

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Wikimedia UK is partnering with Girl Geek groups around the UK and beyond to run free events to enlighten, inform and inspire women to take part in Wikipedia.

Girl Geek Dinners are events by and for women who are interested in technology and engineering. They include – but aren't limited to – students, academics and professionals from various fields. There are GGD events, led by women but open to men as well, in cities around the UK and beyond.

Manchester Girl Geek Wikipedia Editing Day, October 2013

Details of this event

Manchester Girl Geek Wikipedia Editing Day, November 2012

Details of this event

Bristol Girl Geek Wikipedia Editing Day, January 2012

This took place at the University of Bristol on the afternoon of Sunday 15th January 2012. The venue was the Virtual Reality Suite, Room 1.06, the Merchant Venturers Building, the University of Bristol, BS8 1UB. With training and support from experienced Wikipedians, participants took their first steps in writing for Wikipedia, on whatever topics they were interested in. The event was free, and there was a registration page set up here.

Manchester Girl Geek Wikipedia Editing Day

Harry Mitchell helps members of the public learn to edit.

When: Saturday, 12th November 2011, 10am-4pm
Where: Manchester Digital Laboratory, Edge Street, Manchester
Who: Volunteers who took part included User:RexxS, User:HJ Mitchell, User:Julia W
Further details: event page on Meta
Feedback: Event Review: Wikipedia and You! (blog post by Manchester Girl Geeks)

Girl Geek Dinner 2: Manchester

Fiona presenting.

When: Tuesday, 27th September 2011, 6.30-9pm
Where: The B-Hive, Manchester
Who: The event was led by Fiona Apps, otherwise known as User:Panyd on Wikipedia. Wikimedia UK Board member Mike Peel also attended.
Link: [1]

This was a packed room, with an audience of 28. The average attendee was a little different from Bristol in that they had never edited Wikipedia and were largely unaware of Wikipedia and why you should edit. Many didn't even know that you could edit without an account! Those who had tried editing were confused by many things which were not female-specific. The two biggest reasons being the knowledge of acronyms and essays required for editing and the interface. Many were impressed by the article creation wizard and suggested they would actually attempt to write articles using this system. They were also impressed by the Article Review system and wanted to learn more.

One big difference is that women were encouraged to tweet during the event with the hashtag #mancggd which was displayed on signs during the event. A Storify has been generated from selected tweets.

Audience feedback

Freetext comments (all, anonymized)
  1. I have been drawn back towards wiki - will be reading more carefully from now on!
  2. Very Interesting
  3. Great speaker - Larger screen to see from back - interesting subject
  4. It was nice having people's thoughts and interactions and enthusiasm was great

Girl Geek Dinner 1: Bristol

When: Thursday 18th August 2011, 7pm-9.30pm
Where: Room 1.06, Merchant Venturers School of Engineering, Woodland Road, University of Bristol, BS8 1UB
Who: The event was led by Fiona Apps. Wikipedians User:Jezhotwells, User:MartinPoulter and User:Bs5er were on hand to provide one-to-one assistance.

This event was a joint venture between Wikimedia UK and Bristol Girl Geek Dinners. It was hosted by the University of Bristol and included a free buffet. The collaboration between Wikimedia UK and Bristol GGD goes back to Bristol Wiki Academy 1.

The audience had a clear but not overwhelming majority of women: men are welcome to Girl Geek Dinners, so long as they are invited or accompanied by a woman. Most attendees are publicly listed on the event's Eventbrite page. The format of the evening was a presentation, followed by a hands-on session in which the audience looked for articles they would like to edit. Finally, Fiona led a discussion about barriers to women's participation in Wikipedia, speaking about her own experience and about the research conducted by Wikimedia Foundation Chief Executive, Sue Gardner.

Publicity and coverage

Wikimedia cake before . . .
Wikimedia cake after . . .

Audience feedback

These are the (anonymised) free-text comments from the feedback forms:

  1. Thank you. Almost as applicable to men as women!! Since I've never edited either...
  2. Thanks for all the information. Never thought about editing till today!
  3. If Facebook can be WYSIWYG why can't Wikipedia?
  4. A very interesting presentation. I will definitely have a go at editing now
  5. Excellent Event! Didn't know about WikiProjects!
  6. Enjoyed Evening
  7. Main message should be that it's not hard to edit and anyone can edit
  8. Put bar charts up so everyone can see stats of age, gender, location...of Wiki contributors
  9. Very Informative
  10. I found out new elements about wiki. Would be interested in seeing how this can move forward in the community.
  11. I think some women want to get to know their audience before sharing, hence ivillage, mumsnet are being full of women's contributions rather than Wikipedia
  12. Thought it was very good, enjoyable, informative. I learnt this evening.
  13. Fiona was a great presenter
  14. Reason number #8 why women don't edit Wikipedia: addressing women as men -> has this been changed? It's a simple thing and it has a negative impact. Change it
  15. The talk was very enlightening. Thank you! Cake was very enjoyable
  16. Annoyed at slides for cutting screenshots at the edges
  17. Inspiring!

Call to action

Wikimedia UK is looking to support Wikimedia volunteers in running events with Girl Geeks or similar groups around the country, especially in universities or other educational institutions.

There is no "party line" on women's involvement in Wikipedia: we hope that female presenters will be able to speak honestly about good and bad aspects of their experience, and encourage the audience to try contributing to the Wikimedia projects. Volunteers giving training can of course be of either gender.

The Wikimedia UK Office can fund travel and subsistence expenses, in accordance with our expense policy. It can also help with printing and freebies, but note that this needs a lot of advance notice.

For further information, contact Wikimedia UK stating your username on Wikimedia projects, where you can travel to and any relevant background.