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NWSA Wikipedia Initiative



NWSA Wikipedia Initiative


The goal of the NWSA Wikipedia Initiative is simple: Make information available about women's studies and feminist topics on Wikipedia as complete and accurate as possible. To reach that goal, NWSA is encouraging our members to contribute content to Wikipedia or make use of Wikipedia-based assignments for students as part of your coursework, in partnership with the Wiki Education Foundation.

Why Wikipedia?

When the public searches for information, the top search results are Wikipedia articles. As the fifth most-visited website, Wikipedia is the go-to resource for knowledge on every topic, and all of that content has been written by volunteers. As women’s studies scholars, it's important to ensure that the information on Wikipedia is accurate, fair, and representative of women’s experiences, achievements, and struggles.

It is not always the case. For years, information on topics relevant to women simply haven’t been present, or had the same quality, as others. Some articles on Wikipedia that had been absent or incomplete — such as birth control, gender inequality, maternity leave, feminism, pregnancy risks in developing countries, the refugee status of women, sex work, and the women’s role in the Arab Spring — are now thriving thanks to the engaged efforts of students and instructors who used Wikipedia in their classroom assignments.

As part of our commitment to social change, NWSA is encouraging our members to actively participate in curating knowledge on Wikipedia about our field and about a wide variety of feminist topics.

Teaching with Wikipedia: The Wikipedia Education Program

The easiest way to improve Wikipedia’s representation of women is to participate in the Wikipedia Education Program, a project in which students contribute content to Wikipedia in place of a traditional research paper through a classroom activity. The Wikipedia Education Program in the United States and Canada is run by the Wiki Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization partnering with NWSA to support our Wikipedia Initiative.

Here's how it works. A Wiki Education Foundation staff member will help you craft an assignment that enables your students to improve Wikipedia articles as they relate to the topic of any class. Wiki Ed has an online training for you and your students and brochures and handouts for you to distribute to students in class. As your students craft their Wikipedia articles, they'll be gaining key skills like:

• Fact-based, neutral writing
• Research
• Media literacy and source evaluation
• Critical thinking
• Collaboration

And best of all, their coursework will serve to improve publicly available information about the subjects you teach.

Ready to get started?

Reach out to the Wiki Education Foundation at contact@wikiedu.org and tell them you're interested in participating in the NWSA Wikipedia Initiative, or check out http://wikiedu.org/for-instructors/ for a full list of resources available to help you craft your assignment and run it successfully.