MEDIA ADVISORY: Amnesty International to Launch Feminist Wikipedia Takeover on International Women’s Day

Amnesty International Canada is launching a new initiative to counter online underrepresentation of women, transgender and non-binary human rights defenders in Canada through a “Feminist Wikipedia Takeover,” launching in Ottawa on International Women’s Day, March 8, 2018.  The campaign aims to address gender bias in the open source encyclopaedia by crowdsourcing the creation of new biographies highlighting the work of women, transgender and non-binary people in Canada who peacefully advocate in support of human rights.
“Gender bias online is well documented and too often renders invisible the enormous contributions of feminist activists in the online space, contributing to the marginalization of their work and presenting a gender-skewed and disempowering view of our world,” said Jacqueline Hansen, gender rights campaigner for Amnesty International Canada. “This International Women’s Day, we are launching a campaign for online equality by honouring the bravery and commitment of our sisters, transgender and non-binary activists who struggle for justice every day, often with little public awareness of their contributions and struggles.”
Gender bias is recognized as one of the most frequent criticisms of Wikipedia, with a page on the site devoted entirely to the issue.  “Gender bias on Wikipedia refers to criticism of the online encyclopedia, and especially its English-language site, that the nature and quantity of its content is biased due to the fact that a dominant majority of volunteer Wikipedia editors are male,” according to Wikipedia. “Wikipedia has fewer and less extensive articles about women or topics important to women. The Wikimedia Foundation, which runs Wikipedia, agrees with these criticisms and has made an ongoing attempt to increase female editorship.”
Amnesty International advocates for the rights of women, transgender and non-binary human rights defenders in Canada and around the world who face disproportionate risk of targeting, stigmatization, and oppression because of who they are, and because their advocacy challenges traditional gender norms and power structures. Women from minority communities, Indigenous peoples, LBTI women, and other marginalized women often face unique or compounded human rights violations and abuses. Progress is urgently needed to address these risks, including in the online space where women, transgender and non-binary people too often encounter harassment, gender bias, trolling, and other forms of oppression.
The Feminist Wikipedia Takeover campaign launch will take place in Ottawa on March 8th as part of the largest International Women’s Day event in the nation’s capital, as feminist activists across Canada begin uploading profiles and information about women, transgender and non-binary human rights defenders in their communities. More information about the campaign is available here:
Note to Media:
The 10th annual International Women’s Day event in Ottawa where the Feminist Wikipedia Takeover launch will take place is open to media. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. at 1525 Princess Patricia Way in Ottawa.
For interview requests, please contact Jacob Kuehn, Press Officer for Amnesty International Canada: / 613-744-7667 ext 236.