Oberlin College hosts 'Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon' for feminists

  • Oberlin College is inviting students to its library Thursday for a day of editing Wikipedia articles about “art and feminism” as a way of combating the website’s alleged “gender gap.”
  • The event is part of an annual campaign created in 2014 in response to a 2011 survey finding that less than 10 percent of Wikipedia editors are women.
  • To ensure an inclusive experience, students are encouraged to ask fellow attendees for their "pronouns of choice," and to brief themselves on the event's "Safe Space Policy" in advance.

Oberlin College is inviting students to its library Thursday for a day of editing Wikipedia articles about “art and feminism” as a way of combating the website’s alleged “gender gap.”

The Oberlin College Library is sponsoring the “Art + Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon,” which is among nearly 200 such events being held around the world this March as part of an annual initiative organized by a group called Art + Feminism (A+F).

“Please ask your fellow attendees for their pronouns of choice!”   

“Wikipedia’s gender trouble is well-documented. In a 2011 survey, the Wikimedia Foundation found that less than 10% of its contributors identify as women,” the event description states, saying, “This represents an alarming absence in an important repository of shared knowledge.”

[RELATED: WVU hiring Wikipedian to bridge Wikipedia ‘gender gap’]

Students are expected to bring their own laptops, power cords, and a list of article they believe are in need of revision, but library staff “will provide tutorials for the beginner Wikipedian, library resources, and more” to assist them in their efforts.

The event page provides a list of articles that students might wish to edit, including Cyborg Feminism, Gender Essentialism, Socialist Feminism, “visual artists of African Diaspora,” and Gender Essentialism. Most of the articles have already been assigned, though students are encouraged to come up with their own ideas, as well.

Participation is open to “people of all gender identities and expressions,” and organizers are careful to note that the experience is expected to be an inclusive one, encouraging students to “ask your fellow attendees for their pronouns of choice” and brief themselves on the “Safe Space Policy” adopted by A+F for the event.

[RELATED: Harvard students spend Labor Day tweaking ‘offensive’ Wikipedia posts]

Discussing the A+F campaign in 2015, Rachel Simone Weil, an art and art history lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin, told The Daily Texan that while most people think of well-established Wikipedia articles as remaining “relatively unchanged and uncontested,” the reality of the editing process gives disproportionate influence to the viewpoints represented by the majority of Wikipedia editors.

“The intent is not to disproportionately overstate the roles of women or downplay the achievements of men through a malicious rewriting of history,” she explained. “Rather, this project seeks to revisit gaps in scholarship and canonical history—places in which the accounts of women’s contributions to society may, for one reason or another, simply not exist.”

Spokespersons for the Oberlin College Library did not respond to a request for comment from Campus Reform.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @asabes10

Get exclusive access to breaking CampusReform stories as they happen. Sign up below and we'll keep you in the loop.
 Weekly Digest

 Daily Emails

Adam Sabes
Adam Sabes | Assistant Editor

Adam Sabes is the Assistant Editor reporting on liberal bias and abuse on campus for Campus Reform. Adam was previously the Mississippi Senior Campus Correspondent for Campus Reform.

20 Articles by Adam Sabes