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Women, Art, and Wikipedia Edit-a-thons

The gender gap on Wikipedia is no secret. In 2011, The Wikimedia Foundation found that less than 10% of editors on the platform were women. When we’re not represented in the writing and editing of the stories and records, we lose out on the real history.

This year marked Art + Feminism’s fifth annual international Wikipedia Edit-a-thon campaign, which aims to improve coverage of cis and transgender women, feminism and the arts on Wikipedia. Art + Feminism provides the necessary resources for museums and cultural organizations to host their own edit-a-thons during Women’s History Month during March. This year more than 500 events took place around the world, with over 11,000 Wikipedia articles edited, including one at the National Museum of Women in the Arts focused on women as art museum directors and gallerists and another at the Jewish Museum, which improved visibility and scholarship of women artists in their collection.

More than 30 editors attended the National Museum of Women in the Arts’ event, helping to improve 72 articles and create eight new articles. In preparation, the museum’s Library and Research Center intern Emily Sawyer compiled a list of women art museum directors and gallerists who were either poorly represented or not represented at all on Wikipedia. She also helped editors in attendance to correct a Wikipedia listing of museum directors with hardly any women and updated a segregated list of women directors that was poorly maintained.

The Jewish Museum’s first annual edit-a-thon welcomed 50 editors who improved more than 100 articles relating to women artists in their collection. Artists Joan Semmel and Arlene Shechet joined guests for an hour-long talk in the Museum’s galleries discussing their work on display and their careers as women artists. This was a meaningful way to kick off the event and opened up a conversation about the representation of women artists in museums. Since this was the Museum’s first edit-a-thon, many attendees were first-time editors eager to learn about how vital this work is to achieving equal representation in the arts.

Though Women’s History Month is over for the year, and we may have to wait until next year’s Art + Feminism edit-a-thon for future events, Wikipedia editing can, and should, happen year round. Below are some resources to help you master the art of Wikipedia editing and to help all of us amplify the voices of women in the arts online:


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