Edit-a-thon aims to put more Yale women on Wikipedia

Wikipedia may be the largest source of openly available data on the web, and one of the most visited websites in the world (clocking 18 billion pageviews per month as of 2016), but it is undeniably gender imbalanced.

It is well documented, and indeed acknowledged by Wikipedia itself, that significant gender — as well as racial, religious, and geographic — bias exists throughout Wikipedia,” says Jonathan Manton, music librarian for digital and access services at Yale’s Irving S. Gilmore Music Library. “Most ‘wikipedians’ tend to be white, tech-centric, well-educated men from the Northern hemisphere from majority Christian countries.” Only 17% of the biographies on Wikipedia are of women and an estimated 90% of editors on Wikipedia are male.

Manton will speak at a Yale Women Wikipedia Edit-a-thon at Yale School of Management on July 9 that seeks to help shift the balance, particularly by increasing profiles of notable alumnae. The event ties into campus and community-wide commemorative events around the “Celebrate Women at Yale” initiative, recognizing 50 years of co-education and 150 years since the first women attended classes in the Yale School of Art.

I thought it was a prescient time to recognize and support Yale women on a platform where women are currently under-represented,” says Amy Kundrat, director of digital media at SOM, who organized the event. Kundrat says she was inspired both by the recent International Center for Finance's Yale Symposium on Art and Gender, where she learned about “significant gender biases in the art world including the dearth of women artists on Wikipedia,” and by the Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thons that have happened the last three years at Yale’s Haas Family Arts Library.   

A past Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon at the Haas Family Arts Library.
A past Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon at the Haas Family Arts Library.

During the event, Yale community members are invited to bring a laptop and contribute to Wikipedia entries of Yale alumni women. Suggestions for profiles to edit and create will be provided; no previous experience is required. A Zoom conference will allow those who can’t attend to participate remotely.

Manton describes the Edit-a-thon as an opportunity to bring attention to “noted women that have blazed trials throughout Yale’s history,” and says it’s an act that can have real impact. Wikipedia, he says, “is most often the source that people around the world defer to when looking for information on a huge array of topics [and] it is also the source that will often appear within the first few results when ‘Googling’ something.”

The event is one of many that seeks to showcase and highlight women this year at SOM. Others include an annual student-run Fempire conference, a Global Network Women in Business webinar, and a September event featuring women food entrepreneurs. “This is an exciting year for Yale Women at SOM,” Kundrat says.

The Yale Women Wikipedia Edit-a-thon will be held July 9, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Yale School of Management Honest Tea Entrepreneurship Suite, 165 Whitney Ave., New Haven. Event is free and open to all. Remote participation via Zoom will be available. Lunch and refreshments will be served. Registration is recommended. Click here for details and registration.

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Media Contact

Brita Belli: brita.belli@yale.edu, 203-804-1911