IWD: Wikimedia User Group Nigeria tasks journalists on inclusion of women in the Wikipedia space

By Onome Naomi

Wikimedia User Group Nigeria in collaboration with NAWOJ held a symposium at the Lagos Chamber Of Commerce Hall from 8th -13th March 2024 to enlighten/ train female journalists on capacity building and women inclusion in the Wikipedia space.

Wikipedia the world largest online encyclopedia with over 265 volunteers as contributors has established translation into 300 languages and over 4.5billion views on monthly basis. The focus on female contributors to increase the inclusion of women on the online encyclopedia platform is meant to equalize with the already dominated space of 70% by men.

Research shows fact-finding reports on how women have been deliberately left out of the contributory platform. To this effect, Wikimedia is building on bridging the gap between men and women volunteers on the Wikipedia space by creating symposiums where women journalists are tasked with promoting notable females as a corroborating merge to level up on occupying the online encyclopedia generously.

The 5-day symposium held by Wikimedia User Group Nigeria commenced with an address on why Wikipedia needs women from keynote speakers; Mrs Omolayo Ogunsida( Executive Director Wikimedia Nigeria), Mrs Toro Oladapo ( Former Director Ministry of Information, Former National president NAWOJ) and Mrs Gbemisola Shop ( Technologist, Data Journalist) respectively. The speakers buttressed on the need to accommodate more women volunteers to level up on the male dominated online space.

Mrs Omolayo Ogunsida mentioned that women have been deliberately left out of the Wikipedia platform for historical and traditional narratives seen as unfounded summations created to badger female folks into subjection. Without women on the platform, the female gender will be limited to face value thereby debarring notability. There is need to display the greatness of women on Wikipedia not just men, Nigerian women as at year 2000 had 20,000 articles; this articles has to occupy the online encyclopedia. The women should be promoted as well, the “we can do it attitude” must be established and sustained, she added.

Mrs Gbemisola Esho in her statements noted that Wikipedia’s enlightenment/ training program for members of NAWOJ is meant to enhance the capacity of female volunteers, change the narratives on women to inspire inclusion thereby bridging the gap between men and women on the online encyclopedia space.

Gbemisola said;

“Before, women were seen as inactive in achievements but now the story has changed. Through Wikipedia, great stories of notable women will spread all around the world. The platform is for women of every aspect, our voices will be heard and we are prepared to change the narratives.”

Mrs Oladapo Toro revealed Wikimedia Nigeria is carrying out statistics of women participation , says a lot of women have achieved greatly and should be published on Wikipedia. She stated that: “There is possibility that a woman can be seen but not heard as this has been our cultural practice. The society does not want us to be the change but all that narrative will be changed” she affirmed.

Oladapo gave an account of her status as President of NAN and how she changed the narratives of women in her sector devoid of bias amongst male and female journalists under her authority. Implies, equity should be adopted as an approach to measure up by increasing the numbers of participating women in the Wikipedia space.

Read Also:Hardship:’Corruption kills nations and Nigeria is dying’- Comrade Prince Saviour Iche calls for resignation of Sen. Akpabio, others…

The five-day program conducted by Wikimedia facilitators to commemorate the International women’s Day with “Theme; INSPIRE INCLUSION” for female journalists ended with a two-day training on capacity building using publication strategies accepted by Wikipedia. The aim is to promote notable women on the online encyclopedia space.

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