Committee uses resource to diversify Wikipedia

Catalina Forister, Staff Reporter

The Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee of U.N.R’s Library used Wikipedia to bring women of the past back to life through Women’s Month. 

Those who showed up to the event were able to contribute by editing the Wikipedia pages of influential figures in history, especially African-American women, Native American women, or nonbinary groups. No experience was needed; the only requirement is that one comes willing to contribute to diversifying Wikipedia in whatever ways they can. 

The committee is still fairly new, and because this is the first time Wikipedia Editing has been an on-campus event, committee co-founder Tati Mesfin hopes to spread awareness about the gender gap on Wikipedia. 

“I want people to understand that the information on Wikipedia did not just pop up there overnight,” Mesfin said. “There are actual people going in and self-selecting what articles and topics they’re going to edit, and because so many of these editors just happen to be men, a lot of the more thorough, higher-quality articles tend to be about men or male-related topics.”

Another university faculty member is Judith Sugar, who believes that it is important to contribute to change. 

“People don’t even know what they did oftentimes because there’s less written about them,” Sugar said. “The more we can contribute the better, there are clearly more articles on men and very little on women and yet, we’re half the population.”

However, despite Wikipedia’s divide, Mesfin believes that everyone, especially students using the website on a daily basis, have the ability to make a change. 

“If you want more information about your community, or other women, you can do that,” Mesfin said. “We use Wikipedia for everything; I know students use it all the time. But they don’t have to just be consumers of information, we want them to know that they can also be creators.”

Catalina Forister
A member of the committee updates a Wikipedia page in an effort to diversify the information about women on the platform.