Independent organisation ArchiteXX launched a global effort to have the most diverse and wide ranging of women in architecture written into Wikipedia on International Women’s Day.
The movement, dubbed ‘Women Wikipedia Design’, asked for people to contribute Wikipedia entries about women in architecture, urbanism, design and construction on March 8, and aims to address the bias and underrepresentation of women in these disciplines and collective canon of notable figures online.
It was inspired by a friend of ArchiteXX’s experience of wrestling with Wikipedia editing trolls “who were doing their utmost to un-write women out of certain section of activism”, as well as Despina Stratigakos’ Places essay, Unforgetting Women Architects: From the Pritzker to Wikipedia.
Stratigakos begins her essay by reminding readers that “history is not a simple meritocracy: it is a narrative of the past written and revised – or not written at all – by people with agendas”, and ends with a call for positive action:
“Contributing to Wikipedia … represents a real opportunity to provide … a more accurate perception of women’s participation in architecture.
There is also something very satisfying about writing a forgotten figure — a professional ancestor, maybe even a pioneer — into history. And as the long and rich history of women in architecture becomes more broadly known, it will become that much harder to ignore them, whether in the classroom, the museum, or on prize juries.
As Sue Gardner of Wikimedia put it, “Wikipedia will only contain ‘the sum of all human knowledge’ if its editors are as diverse as the population itself: you can help make that happen. And I can’t think of anything more important to do, than that.”
ArchiteXX created a help sheet including wiki entry protocol and citing criteria for participants interested in being a part of the movement. They suggest developing a list of women you would like to write in, their information and the references you will be citing, as well as any images you would like to include. You may download the guide HERE.
Interested participants could also sign up to the ArchiteXX list so they know how many women will be written about, and who.
Other resources include The Anita Borg Institute’s advice on How to Edit Wikipedia: Lessons from a Female Contributor.
The event is supported by Parlour, who hosted a Melbourne Wikiparty at the architecture office of SIBLING, while the NSW Architects Registration Board also opened its doors for a Sydney Wikiparty in the city CBD.
It is hoped that the launch of this year’s Women Wikipedia Design will become an annual event.