Windsor women work to correct Wikipedia's gender imbalance

It's the draw of Wikipedia - free information that anyone can add to or edit. But it turns out men outnumber women by a large margin, with only 10 per cent of Wikipedia editors identifying as women. A group in Windsor is hoping to upset those numbers.

Only 10 per cent of Wikipedia editors identify as women

Julie Tucker (left) and Sarah Morris are helping organize a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon. (CBC)

It's the draw of Wikipedia -- free information that anyone can add or edit at anytime. While anyone can be a volunteer Wikipedia editor, most who do so are men and only 10 per cent of editors identify as women.

A group in Windsor is hoping to change those numbers. Sarah Morris of Hackforge and Julie Tucker of the Windsor Arts Council are helping to organize a Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon on Saturday.

"A lot of people think of Wikipedia as sort of a static thing. It's like an encyclopedia right? It's just sort of the idea of truth. It's the first stop when you're researching something. But the truth is people contribute to it and their inherent biases come through in those articles," said Morris. 

"We are very vocally saying 'no, let's add some more women on to Wikipedia' and I think it's a positive thing." 

Saturday's Edit-a-Thon will focus on the arts. According to Tucker, there's a huge void on the online site when it comes to covering women in the arts.

"Sixty-three per cent of living artists in Canada are women actually. But they are not represented in Wikipedia or the gallery system," said Tucker.

The women said one issue with Wikipedia is it's not user-friendly. The Edit-a-thon will help volunteers navigate their way through the site.

"One of the things we're going to do on Saturday is help empower people, which is one of Hackforge's mandates," said Morris. "Technology is not just something you have to consume. You're on the phone all day, you're on the computer all day, but really you can have an active role on the Internet and technology."

By Sunday, both women hope Wikipedia will have more of a female touch.