West Virginia University Libraries broke new ground last fall with the hiring of Kelly Doyle as the first Wikipedian in Residence for Gender Equity. Doyle recently spoke at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. about diversity and her efforts at narrowing the gender gap on Wikipedia.

“We are really going first with the Wikipedian in Residence role,” Doyle said. “Since I’m the first Wikipedian in Residence to focus solely on gender equity, we have a lot of attention being paid to the work we’re accomplishing, which is great in terms of bringing awareness to the issue of gender equity and the gender gap.”

Doyle spoke at the annual Wikimedia Diversity Conference, which aims to continue an open dialogue about sustainable initiatives to make Wikipedia an environment conducive and accepting of all genders and races. Wikipedia has a well-documented gender gap – nearly 90 percent of the site’s volunteer editors are male.

In her presentation titled “Modern Day Amazons: Sorority Women, the Gender Gap, and Wikipedia,” Doyle addressed the problematic gender gap on Wikipedia and detailed her current outreach and advocacy for Wikipedia and gender equity at WVU.

Since taking the post in October 2015, Doyle has recruited 53 new writers, 95 percent of whom are women, and they have collectively updated 29 Wikipedia articles about women and written nine original articles.

Looking forward, Doyle shared some innovative ideas to continue this work at WVU by attracting more undergraduate students to edit Wikipedia at WVU and to expand the program to the national level.

Doyle advocates recruiting students from Greek Life and other student organizations as volunteer writers. As an incentive, WVU students who edit Wikipedia could receive service credit for their contributions. Other colleges and universities could then replicate the programs to increase content about women from their respective states and, as a result, decrease the gender gap both in terms of content and female editorship on Wikipedia.

“I’m very pleased with the progress we have made so far in working with Wikipedia and the gender gap,” Doyle said. “I’m excited to see what we can accomplish in the coming year. We have some programming planned that I believe the campus community will be very engaged with and give us even further success.”

This fall, Doyle is planning multiple activities for Mountaineer Week (Oct. 28 – Nov.6), the theme of which is Women in Appalachia. These events include delivering a talk focused on women from West Virginia and her role in closing the gender and information gap about Appalachia. She will also be hosting two corresponding edit-a-thons during Mountaineer Week. Doyle is also scheduled to speak at the third annual WikiConference North America (Oct. 7-10) in San Diego.



CONTACT: Monte Maxwell, communications coordinator, WVU Libraries
304.293.0306, monte.maxwell@mail.wvu.edu

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