In 2017, Rosie Stephenson Goodknight, a well-known American Wikipedian carried out the first global gender mapping project for Wikipedia, with testimonies of 65 women Wikipedians from around the globe (representing 29 countries and 26 languages). From her research, the following themes emerged: gender is culture-specific; issues of inclusion and gender fluidity are complex; implicit biases exist in society and they create a false sense of neutrality; importance of acknowledging various degrees of participation and not creating a hierarchy; narrating own stories through women‰Ûªs voices and countering bias. Following these premises, this poster presents a preliminary ethnographic study addressing the issue of gender gap, featuring narratives of Wikipedians from India (with focus on women contributors). The aim of this study is to trace their motivations for communicating using the platform of Wikipedia, barriers to their participation and measures taken (and suggested) for bridging the gender gap.
As our work is intended as a pilot study on gender mapping in the Indian context, we employed qualitative methods for data collection and used a semi-structured questionnaire for the interviews. Respondents were chosen from various academic backgrounds and age groups, different regions of India, contributing to different language versions, active Wikipedians as well as ones who have stopped contributing. At this stage, we have already carried out five interviews to make sense of the motivations (four female, one male respondent) to contribute, as well as to understand their perceptions of gender bias on Indian Wikipedia space. Our findings relate strongly to the issues that emerged from the 2017 gender mapping study and also point out unique Indian problems which create barriers for women‰Ûªs participation, and what is being done (and can be done) to bridge these gaps.
This poster intends to describe the barriers faced by women Wikipedians and their motivations to contribute despite these barriers. It also summarizes the next steps needed to encourage and sustain women Wikipedians in India. We hope that the readers will gather a better understanding about the global south situation in the context of gender and participation from this poster. We hope to receive comments, criticisms and feedback on our ongoing work, as we intend to carry out further research with the possibility of journal publication.