Writing to fight bias: Editing Wikipedia to give greater online kudos

At AbbVie, embracing diversity and inclusion is one of the core principles that defines our culture. We treat everyone equally, with dignity and respect and embrace diverse backgrounds and perspectives which allow us all to achieve our best. It’s why we are committed to ensuring gender equity both within our organisation and beyond.

After discovering that just under 18% of Wikipedia profiles are about women1, AbbVie Australia teamed up with Franklin Women – a social enterprise that empowers women pursuing careers across the health and medical research sector – to host the very first Wikipedia Edit-a-thon for women in health, medicine and life sciences.

Wikipedia Edit-a-thons are a growing global movement that aim to close the gender content gap and ensure online content is representative of diverse talent. 

More than 40 participants from across the sector took to their keyboards to update profiles to highlight the achievements of remarkable female health and medical researchers.

The Edit-a-thon saw 235 edits about Australian female scientists with more than 7,000 words of acknowledgment added. Our AbbVie team is proud to have contributed to rewriting history!

Kirsten O’Doherty, General Manager of AbbVie Australia and New Zealand, praised the efforts of the participants and highlighted the importance these impactful, grassroots initiatives.

“As a company with a diverse workforce, AbbVie is committed to ensuring our employees, researchers and industry leaders are recognised for their work regardless of gender or any other demographic,” said Ms O’Doherty.

“Events like the Wikipedia Edit-a-thon help to educate people on the contributions of inspiring female researchers throughout history, as well as those pushing the field forward today,” she said.

Only 16% of active Wikipedia contributors identify as women2. The event also aimed to equip more women with ‘soft skills’ to become Wikipedia editors, through training and support from experienced Wikipedia editors.

References

  1. Wikipedia. WikiProject Women in Red, 2019Available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Women_in_Red
  2. PLoS One. The Wikipedia Gender Gap Revisited: Characterizing Survey Response Bias with Propensity Score Estimation, 2013. Available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3694126/#