Yesterday, for International Women’s Day, staff and volunteers at the Museum of Childhood did a wikipedia edit-a-thon to get more women onto the web.
Women are shockingly under-represented on wikipedia, and this, combined with the general low status of toy-making as a craft or art form, results in a sad lack of presence for this group of creative, talented and overlooked craftswomen.
I’ve always been very dedicated to wikipedia, and I love that it is an open, dynamic and free creation of the web. I love the peculiar links, the rabbit holes of obscure entries that can take you to new places, and the amazing collaborative effort that it represents. Of course, it is only as good as the information we put on, and as reliable as the sources we cite. But it rewards the critical and curious reader most abundantly.
#beboldforchange is the slogan for this year’s IWD, which resonates with the wikipedia imperative Be Bold. Though not a regular wikipedian, and certainly not an experienced coder, I decided to overcome my hesitations and go for it!
We had complied a long list of women who were notable collectors, historians or makers of toys, and took a big pile of books into the galleries to start researching. Fuelled by tea, biscuits, and mini muffins, we worked for 6 hours, editing wikipedia entries and making new ones.
It was fantastic – such a real treat to spend the day reading about wonderful women we didn’t previously know much about. We shared our findings with each other, but more importantly, with the world.
And it was easy. There is so much guidance on the technique and technicals – but I would encourage you to just go for it! We made this easy sheet to get started:
We edited and created the following articles. I invite you to pitch in – edit, add links, information and references. They aren’t finished, and many still have issues, but wikipedia is not a finished work and we can keep editing whenever we make time.
How about making articles for the following wonderful women toymakers?
the Tebbit Sisters
Emma and Marietta Adams
And who else?