Emmeline Pankhurst sold her home in England to tour the United Kingdom and United States in support of women's rights. She is most famous for her Freedom or death speech.
Wyoming was the first U.S. territory to grant women's suffrage, as commemorated by the inclusion of "equal rights" in the state's seal.
...with help from Wikipedia editors like you!
This week, we talked with WikiProject Feminism. Originally created in February 2008 as a task force within WikiProject Gender Studies, WikiProject Feminism became its own project in June 2010. The project focuses on articles detailing women's rights, women's health, notable activists, and the history, literature, philosophy, and concepts related to feminism. The project is home to nine Featured articles and five Good and A-class articles. To aid contributors, the project maintains a directory of project members who can provide help with specific tasks, a HotArticlesBot list of articles with high activity in the past day, a variety of pages needing attention, and a list of missing articles for women featured by the National Women's History Project.
We interviewed Kaldari, Carolmooredc, and Danger. Kaldari is an employee of the Wikimedia Foundation and admin on several Wikimedia sites including Wikipedia. He joined the Feminism Task Force in July 2008 because "most of the feminism articles on Wikipedia were in pretty bad shape at the time and I thought it was important that we provide more accurate and comprehensive information on the subject". After the task force outgrew WikiProject Gender Studies, he spun it off as a separate project. Carolmooredc first contributed to the Feminism Task Force in December 2008. Her interest in feminism began in the early 1970s, and her most recent efforts have been to seek "advice and support dealing with issues of sexism in Wikipedia". Danger is an admin and claims to be an "ethereal entity".
There have been recent discussions about a gender gap among Wikipedia's registered users (see major Signpost coverage and follow-up). Is WikiProject Feminism taking any steps to increase recruitment and contributions of women on Wikipedia? What else can be done by editors both inside and outside the project?
Carolmooredc: The fact Wikipedia has admitted a problem and announced its new goals, and gotten lots of mainstream publicity for them, by itself has had a positive effect on some male editors already and I definitely have found the incivility level dropping (knock on wood.) I see a lot of good suggestions, but the most important thing is for women to take on some of these excellent projects.
Kaldari: I think Carol is right that civility is a big issue, both for retaining women editors and retaining new editors in general. I think it's also important to give more support and encouragement to new editors instead of just flooding their talk pages with warning templates when they make mistakes. Towards that end, I'm currently working on a new WikiLove gadget in my spare time. Expect to see it available in the preferences some day soon.
Danger: I think the mailing list that Sue Gardner and Erik Möller set up and some of the projects on Meta-Wiki and related wikis are the real center of this sort of action. For better or worse though, WikiProject Feminism has become a sort of central location to discuss the issue on-wiki, which I think reflects a lack of other venues more than the focus of the project as a whole.
Some of the project's articles cover contentious issues or are frequent targets of vandalism. What tools does the project use to patrol and maintain the neutrality of the project's articles? How does the project cope with hostility from registered and anonymous users?
Carolmooredc: The vandalism tools are good. The tools for dealing with hostility over contentious issues are not sufficiently used. Even when multiple people complain to WP:Wikiquette alerts and even WP:ANI about medium grade incivility by the same editor in the same week, there may be little criticism and nothing done. Senior editors and admins can get away with even more hostility to newbies and other editors in areas of controversy. Bad behavior by male editors may be ignored while uppity females with far less obnoxious behavior are chastised. I have a thick skin and can take a lot of negativity, but a lot of women will flee after just a few attacks. We need more admins willing to give stern warnings to subtly and actively hostile editors, doing it at WP:Wikiquette, WP:ANI, other complaint pages and/or at the offending editor's talk page. More short blocks would definitely encourage people to be civil.
Danger: I'll echo Carol in saying that there's little we can do, as a project, besides revert and move on. I've been subject to some pretty grotesque user talk messages following reversion of disruptive editing on feminism pages; but there's really nothing one can do about it. That said, there's only so many times one can see grotesque rape threats on one's watchlist before fleeing to milder climes. (Although some of the vandalism on worm-related articles is surprisingly grotesque as well.) A lot of the high importance pages are protected and even those have to be revdeled on a regular basis. We also have a pretty big problem with neutrality, especially regarding due weight.
WikiProject Feminism is home to nine featured articles and five GA/A-class articles. Have you contributed toward any of these articles? Are you working toward bringing an article up to FA or GA status?
Carolmooredc: There definitely is one I’d love to, but I just keep getting sidetracked.
Danger: In general, the articles within our scope seem to be pretty isolated from other projects, so we're not particularly active in inter-project collaboration. The exception is, of course, our parent project WikiProject Gender Studies, which we only split from relatively recently.
What are the project's most pressing needs? How can a new contributor help today?
Kaldari: We're currently preparing for International Women's Day (March 8th). Expect to see a lot of women-focused content on the Main Page then. The best way for people to help is to improve the various Did You Know articles scheduled for that day.
Carolmooredc: Educational tools and an easier interface for new and experienced editors to find their way around and get help. Videos that deal with emotional aspects of editing Wikipedia for women would help. New contributors can best help by learning policy, learning dispute resolution, and being patient.
Danger: We need editors willing and able to dig through the dense thicket that is academic feminist writing in order to improve the various philosophy pages. You don't have to start out with Judith Butler or Mary Daly! Something originally printed on a dead tree would be great. A bibliography of websites where important texts are available would be a big help in doing research as well.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Carolmooredc: To me the biggest potential recruitment area for women in general is recently retired, educated, computer savvy women who have more time on their hands and lots to offer. We need outreach to all the various Seniors groups like AARP and American Seniors Association to get articles printed about editing Wikipedia and to advertise for editors in their publications. Their readers are very attentive to these publications. One big selling point: Wikipedia keeps the mind active and challenged for seniors. A certain number of those women will be feminists, and certainly mentioning the Feminist and Women's History projects to such a big, fertile pool would bring more feminists and women to the project.
Danger: Just that one does not have to identify oneself as a feminist—or even as a woman—to be a part of this project. We welcome editors of a wide variety of philosophical and political viewpoints. As long as you don't insert the "c" word into articles in our scope, we should get along alright.