History has a massive gender bias. We’ll settle for fixing Wikipedia.Historians in the News
tags: feminism, history, Wikipedia, sexism
Nearly everything I know about Martha Mendoza, I learned from her Wikipedia page, which, as of a few weeks ago, did not exist. Mendoza is a two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Her series about forced labor in the seafood industry led to the freeing of 2,000 enslaved Southeast Asian fisherman; because of her articles, Congress passed legislation requiring more transparency from food suppliers.
Her work is important and forceful. The absurd lack of recognition for her contributions on a Wikipedia page could have been for a lot of reasons, but it might have been related to one in particular: Only about 18 percent of Wikipedia’s biographical articles are about women. That’s up 3 percent from a few years ago, according to the Wikimedia Foundation. But it’s still a reflection of the fact that “contributors are majority Western and mostly male, and these gatekeepers apply their own judgment and prejudices,” the foundation wrote.
So, grass-roots organizations have set about trying to change the ratio. Groups such as Art + Feminism sponsor regular “hackathons” to train more diverse groups of Wikipedia editors and to publish a broader range of articles.
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