Monday, 13 February 2017

 Wiki Women Mangaluru for Gender and Linguistic Inclusiveness

It has been a year for me in Wikipedia journey. I remember when my sister was searching for some information in our native language in Kannada and couldn’t find whatever she wanted, so I thought and made up my mind instead of blaming others for not having that or this, I involved myself to contribute towards Wikipedia. As the time passes, I was happy to contribute to Wikipedia and I enjoyed doing that. My beginning of the journey is already written in earlier blog post in Kannada.

After some days or so I understood there are many other things which I can learn from Wikipedia. I can say Wikipedia work is my most favorite work, where I find two ways of happiness - first one is that I learn many things which otherwise I did not know and secondly the happiness to know that someone somewhere makes use of the information that I contributed to Wikipedia. I write to Wikipedia is mainly for the love for the language and to enhance my knowledge.

I get to know there are things beyond writing articles. Once I was going through my Twitter timeline, one of the posts led me to the blog written by Sue Gardner, the Former Chief Executive Director of Wikimedia Foundation. There I found something called “Gender Gap in Wikipedia”. I went through it and discussed with Dr. Pavanaja U. B. and tried to collect more information regarding the same.

Going little backwards chronologically, I started my journey of Wikipedia by participating in Editathons at St. Agnes College (Autonomous), Mangaluru, the college is known as first Women college for higher studies in South India, where I am a student. Later, I participated and presented a paper on “current status and plans for Kannada Wikipedia” in Train the Trainer (TTT) event in the month of June 2016 at CIS, Bengaluru. I was also fortunate enough to participate and present a paper in Wiki Conference India 2016 titled “Efforts to bridge Gender Gap at Mangaluru”(https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Efforts_to_bridge_Gender_gap_in_Kannada_Wikipedia-_our_work_at_Mangaluru.pdf). There I got an idea of starting the user group Wiki Women Mangaluru. I put this idea in front of senior Wikipedians and got lot of encouragements.

Wiki Women Mangaluru(https://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/WikiWomen/Mangaluru) is an user group of mainly Women Wikimedians in and around Mangaluru, who contribute towards Wikimedia projects. We started with a meetup at St. Agnes College (Autonomous), Mangaluru. I would like to thank Ms. Harriet Vidyasagar, she was the one who guided me and supported me to organize the first meetup successfully. The aim of the meetup was to bring Women Wikimedians in and around Mangaluru and provide platform for discussing Wikipedia matters. We discussed the issues, problems, challenges etc and thought of organising Editathons.

After few months we organised Wiki Women Editathon at Shree Ramakrishna College, Mangaluru, in collaboration with Karavali Wikimedians. Here I take an immense pleasure to thank all those who were behind the success of this event, mainly Dr. Pavanaja U. B., Kishore Kumar Rai, Dr. Vishwanath Badikana, Dr. Shailaja and Kavitha G. Thanks are also due to all my dear friends who participated and made the event a success. We were quite successful in motivating the first timers.
I thought of projecting this idea to like minded people who are really interested. So, I planned to participate and present my experiences as a paper titled “About Wiki Women Mangaluru- Bridging Gender Gap in Kannada and Tulu Wikipedias” (https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wiki_Women_Mangaluru_Bridging_Gender_Gap_in_Kannada_and_Tulu_Wikipedias.pdf) during the 4CCon at B. S. Abdur Rehman College, Chennai, January 27-28, 2017. The event was organised by Free Software Movements of India. Here I would like to thank WMF for  sponsoring the trip and for their support.

I had to travel 15 hours from Mangaluru to Chennai. I met new people, When my turn came to present I was not afraid or hesitate to address the gathering rather I was very happy to project our efforts and real work which has created the great change. I still remember the reaction of participants to my talk. They were curious to know about how the idea was germinated, incubated and nurtured. As a side-benefit of these presentations that I did, it helped me to overcome stage-fear.

During my presentation at 4CCon, I announced about our Facebook Group titled “Karavali Wiki Women”(https://www.facebook.com/groups/1099334530176871/) and asked like-minded people join the group and support. It was a great privilege to meet new people and get new ideas. I also shared my contact details so that it may be effective to interact with them. In addition to this we also have a Whatsapp group to provide platform for women to discuss Wiki related matters. So that they feel comfortable to share their ideas and views.

Some of them in the audience came to me who were interested in knowing more about my experiences. I was happy that there were some who are really interested and wanted to join with us. I put efforts to collect their thought on what made women to lag behind. I contacted people personally and collected their views regarding the same. I felt so good that people are eager to do something and ready to take up the initiative and also asked for ideas. This gave me positive energy to work even more. I was glad to hear from them. I collected the opinions of some people I met. I discussed issues personally with Ms. Harsha Priya, Ms. Sindhuja, and some others who are interested in contributing to Opensource and Openknowledge.

As a follow up, I contacted them through phone calls. I came to know that Ms. Sindhuja, who is a teacher from Puducherry, has planned to organise a Wikipedia workshop at her place. I shared my experience with her and asked her how she was going about. Since National Science Day is on 28th February, they will be creating articles on science topics. The event will be extended to teachers in and around Puducherry. These kind of initiatives gives me some positive interest to work even more. People mainly need motivation to take initiatives. This is how the chain goes on to support women to contribute towards Technology. 



Discussion with Ms. HarshaPriya and Amoghavarsha


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