ISLAMABAD: Volunteers gathered at the Swedish embassy on Saturday to add more content on Wikipedia about Pakistani women such as footballer Karishma Ali, who before now had to write to people describing herself when they asked about her.
Wikipedia is currently far from equal, Swedish Ambassador Ingrid Johansson said at the event, adding: “There are four times more articles about men than women and around 90pc of those who write articles on Wikipedia are men.”
To change the inaccurate reflection of women’s achievements, The Embassy of Sweden organized an event called WikiGap, in partnership with UN Women, the Digital Rights Foundation and Media Matters for Democracy.
Over two days, volunteers created 50 new articles about women’s rights and prominent individuals in various fields
Over the course of two days, volunteers created 50 new articles on notable Pakistani women and topics relating to women’s rights, such as women CEOs, entrepreneurs, lawyers, athletes and models.
“Let’s work together to close the internet gender gap. There are now 50 more articles in two days on women on Wikipedia,” Ambassador Johansson said.
Ms Ali, one of five Pakistanis to make it to the Forbes 30 Under 30 2019 list for demonstrating immense talent, said the event was very rewarding.
New articles included Pakistani women such as Rafia Qaseem Baig – the first Pakistani woman to enrol in a bomb disposal unit, Kanwal Ahmed – the founder of one of Pakistan’s largest female online groups Soul Sisters, journalist Munizae Jahangir and Pakistani cricket commentator and sports analyst Zainab Abbas.
The purpose of organizing WikiGap is to empower women to claim their entitled role in the public sphere, organisers said.
The Swedish embassy said Wikipedia is the world’s largest online and user-generated encyclopaedia and the first port of call for those in search of information about a famous person or historical events.
One of the participants could not find basic information on most Pakistani women in parliament.
“I was surprised to see that Shandana Gulzar’s profile on the internet did not mention that she had graduated from the Cambridge University. It did not mention that she has been elected chairperson of the Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians either. I felt it necessary to update her profile so that people can know more about her,” she said.
A levels student Ayesha wrote three articles, among them the first ever on 22-year old Anita Karim on Wikipedia, Pakistan’s first female MMA fighter.
“She represents and inspires young women and that is why I chose to write about her. Munizae Jahangir – it was interesting how Munizae Jahangir has worked so hard to make a place for herself in a male dominated media industry yet not many are familiar with her struggle where she spoke openly about discrimination. I was also surprised that I could not find an article about Zainab Abbas, the first Pakistani female presenter at the ICC World Cup this year. She had always been passionate about cricket,” Ayesha said.
This event is a part of the global WikiGap campaign, originally launched by Wikipedia Sweden and the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs. So far, almost 60 countries have taken part in WikiGap.
More than 1, 800 participants have added or updated more than 13, 000 Wikipedia articles on prominent women in more than 30 different languages.
Published in Dawn, October 13th, 2019