8 March is the centenary of International Women’s Day. This year, we mark the occasion with a series of blog posts about initiatives to strengthen gender equality worldwide. In this post, Estelle Loiseau from the OECD Development Centre describes the OECD’s Wikigender project.
Today, Wikigender celebrates its third birthday. Launched on International Women’s Day by the OECD Development Centre three years ago, this web 2.0 knowledge sharing platform focusing on gender equality issues has become a global reference point.
Originally set up to bring the debate on gender equality closer to individuals by fostering opportunities for data sharing on measures of gender equality, Wikigender has now become a lively virtual space where academics, gender experts, policy makers, statisticians, economists, development practitioners and students can actively participate and contribute to the platform on a variety of gender equality issues.
Engaging with the worldwide gender community
Wikigender cannot exist alone. It only works in cooperation with other organisations such as Inter Press Service, the Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Finance Corporation amongst others. Wikigender also uses Facebook and Twitter as a main part of the communications strategy, delivering timely and efficient messages from the site to the broader community. The success of the platform could only come by really engaging with the worldwide gender community. Keeping it inside the OECD would not have served its purpose, nor would partnering with a couple of international organisations, with experts filling in the gaps. Yes, Wikigender enjoys many visits, new articles and edits from experts; however, a lot of rich information also comes from students and the interested public. Among the most visited focus areas of the site are the country pages and the community portal.
Wikigender country pages give an overview of gender equality and are constantly being updated by our community of users. Originally the country pages only presented information relating to our Social Institutions and Gender Index for the 124 countries covered by the index, while the remaining countries presented information such as women’s political empowerment, women’s legal empowerment, employment discrimination, and educational parity.
Progressively, all country notes are being reviewed to include both information from the index and a general overview in those key areas. In addition, we have started to partner with other organisations to add new gender equality perspectives to the country notes – and we welcome new additions!
- 31 African countries include the campaign “Africa for Women’s Rights: Ratify and Respect!” by the FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights)
- 128 countries have a dimension on the Women, Business and the Law 2010 report by the World Bank Group
- 78 countries have a dimension on the FAO Gender and Land Rights Database
The Community Portal is another top hitting feature of Wikigender: each month, we focus on the gender equality issues that are the most reported in the media, and all Wikigender users are invited to add interesting articles they find in the press. Our current focus is specifically dedicated to the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day, which is widely covered in the media.
Going further: Wikigender University
A lot more can be done through Wikigender. As an accessible platform, we have been working on developing programmes that will bring even more depth to the content of the site. Wikigender University is a programme currently in development. Targeting specifically students, professors and academics, this programme’s main objective is to bring together a range of universities to foster networking opportunities, create synergies with classrooms and web 2.0 technologies by adding Wikigender content to curriculums, as well as building the site further technically and substantively with the help of university students.
Wikigender started to pilot this programme last year with Paris-based universities (the Institut d’Études Politiques (Sciences Po) and the American University of Paris) whereby students got directly involved in the development of the platform by:
- creating new and innovative content
- bringing their expertise in editing existing articles, and
- promoting the site’s content through Facebook and a Twitter account specifically created for students who are members of Wikigender University.
The students reported that they found their capacity for gender research, editorial skills and information sharing using a web 2.0 tool greatly enhanced thanks to this programme. 2011 looks like a promising year as Wikigender has started to promote the concept in other countries like Mexico, Brazil, Uganda and Argentina. We are also receiving spontaneous requests from universities abroad.
If you sign up on Wikigender, you will get monthly newsletters from the Wikigender team, partners and editors which will keep you abreast of opportunities for gender research on Wikigender, information on how you can get involved in the Wikigender programmes and more.
We are happy to report some key statistics:
- Over 20,000 unique visitors monthly from 180 countries, with sharp growth over the past 12 months
- Top 3 countries visiting Wikigender: USA; India; UK
- 1069 editors
- 1179 articles