Wikimedians are making progress on writing women's biographies, but less progress has been made on visual knowledge gaps. We estimate that less than 20% of Wikipedia articles of important women have pictures. When women's faces are missing from Commons and Wikipedia, that invisibility spreads. Half a billion people read Wikipedia every month, and it is the 5th most visited website in the world, so gaps in Wikipedia have a big impact on the broader internet. VisibleWikiWomen is a Whose Knowledge? challenge to add more images of women to Commons and Wikipedia, with the aim to reduce that visibility gap.
In traditional dictionaries of biographies, we only saw the faces of the most prominent people, and selection was based on the judgement of a handful of editors. And most of those faces were male (like the editors who selected them). Very few women even appeared in those dictionaries, let alone their faces. In Wikipedia this problem still exists. Many biographies of notable women do not exist or are incomplete, and one of the main difficulties that we still haven't overcome as a movement is the lack of images that represent them.
In fact, making women literally more visible in Commons and Wikipedia involves many challenges:
Lack of sources
Less presence in the public space, where photos are taken
Biases, stereotypes - pictures of models, actresses, music stars, or porn stars aren't hard to find. pictures of activists, scientists, etc are much harder!
In this presentation, we'll bring together key partners in this campaign from different regions of the world to talk about the experience and results of the first year's VisibleWikiWomen campaign, and discuss what else can we do as Wikimedians going forward to address critical biases in visual knowledge.
Attendees will be encouraged to think about women’s images as another critical gap in Wikimedia projects, will learn about successes and challenges we’ve seen in attempting to close this gap, and will be asking to share their own experiences with similar issues of image gaps. We hope to grow awareness and action among more Wikimedians around the world to expand this campaign for next year.