Who I am to write history?

Wikisfera working session Credit: Patricia Horillo, Facebook

One of the most visited websites of our time, Wikipedia, acts as the memory cell of human history but how much is actually omitted? 

Just under a fifth of Wikipedia’s content, including biographies, centres on women  and just 15 per cent of the site´s volunteer editors are female.

This information may appear shocking, and it did to Patricia Horillo, the founder of Wikisfera; an alternative Wikipedia, which presents more than just the surface of history. 

The Spanish Wikisfera is one of the groups around the world, similar to Whose Knowledge in the US or WikiDonne in Italy; giving voice to women throughout history, who have been muted by the mass media.

“Wikipedia is powered by humans, so it is vulnerable to human biases,” stated the Wikimedia Foundation. “It is also a reflection of the structural and historical inequalities women experience around the world.”

Addressing this issue, a dozen women get together in Madrid´s La Fabulosa bookstore, creating and translating Wikipedia entries about women; in art, history, science and culture. 

“We´re writing history today, right here,” said Encina Villanueva, a participant of Wikisfera since 2016.

“Over the years I´ve seen lines that I wrote used all over the place, repeated over and over in articles. The influence you have is tremendous,” she shared, encouraging women to make their voices heard.

While Wikisfera welcomes people of all backgrounds, the majority of the volunteers are women between the ages of 40 and mid-60s. “These are the women who have time, often they don´t have children or dependents,” said Patricia Horrilo. It’s an important point because this is one of the reasons that there are so few women editors – it takes a lot of time.”

She confessed that she finds the low numbers of women’s contributions “terrifying”, but believes and indeed, sees the difference that women can make, during the Wikisfera meetings, reminding women that they have the power to write and make history.

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Written by

Anna Akopyan

Originally from Moscow, with Russian and Armenian origins, Anna has lived in Costa Blanca for over ten years. She is passionate about singing, acting and traveling.


    • Olivia

      14 June 2024 • 13:57

      I used to rely on Wikipedia, but as one example, Israel has female IOF officers spending their days on social media on pro-Palestine posts and Wikipedia, changing information and attacking the people who posted. On Wikipedia, I have personally seen one edit, where they inserted a whole paragraph in bad English, running down a journalist and saying he is evil. However, the first paragraph was left whole, and the third lauded the journos many award wins

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