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Belgium will try to fix the lack of women on Wikipedia

The lack of female biographies makes "lots of famous women invisible." Credit: Wikimedia

An initiative to improve women’s representation on Wikipedia will be held, as only 18% of biographies on the website are about women, as International Women’s Day approaches on 8 March.

On 5 March, the Belgian French-speaking public broadcaster RTBF will organise what it calls a “Wikithon” from 7:00 AM to 11:00 PM, with the aim to create 100 new biographical profiles of women on Wikipedia.

“There are only 18% of female biographies. This under-representation influences the way we learn about history,” the Wikithon Facebook event stated.

The best-known example of women without a Wikipedia page is Donna Strickland, who won the Nobel price for Physics in 2018, and did not have a Wikipedia page. However, her male collaborator already had one.

In the same vein, the third edition of the feminist “Edit-a-thon” will also be organised in Liège on 7 March. The aim is to write biographical entries on Belgian and Liège women, who “either do not have a page on Wikipedia, have only a fragmentary one, or whose page contains gender bias (when people are presented primarily as the sister or wife of, for example),” said Annelore Eloy, a librarian at the Chiroux, where the Edit-a-thon will be held, reports the Belga press agency.

The lack of female biographies makes “lots of famous women invisible. We want to draw attention to that and restore the balance. We want to give different models and representations,” Eloy added.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times