Monday, December 5, 2016

Rewriting women into history

Our favourite activities, in campaign and beyond, are those that plant or those that teach. 'Women on Wiki' was a bit of both. We partnered with The Red Elephant Foundation, which had organised a wiki editathon recently. The plan was to create or edit Wiki pages for women activists or women's rights organisations in Chennai who did not have a web presence (that wasn't entirely how it worked out!). Radhika Bhalerao helped us generate some basic research resources that met the Wikipedia criteria. Kirthi Jayakumar was our tutor.

Prajnya values favour process over outcome and a few serious participants over a crowd. But having said that, it is always disappointing when you put together a really fun activity, which also teaches valuable contemporary skills, and people appear too apathetic to show up. Did she fall or was she pushed--did we not publicise enough, did they not care enough--ultimately, does not matter.

Even the few who participated ended up putting together quite a few pages in just a couple of hours, as the list in our event report suggests.

I worked on Forum against Oppression of Women, the pioneering Mumbai/Bombay women's rights group where I first volunteered as a teenager. I never thought I would be able to learn the skills but the interface is actually quite intuitive if you have a patient teacher to show you, and I was happy I got involved with this activity because I was able to give something small back. The FAOW page could use fleshing out by those who have worked there for a long time, but I was happy to have started the process of documenting their work in the public domain.

Would I do this again? I think so! My technical learning curve might be slow but the research process is familiar and I realise that having a Wikipedia presence is going to be more and more important, especially to really small groups.

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