The Wikimedia Foundation is the non-profit organization that supports Wikipedia, the other Wikimedia free knowledge projects, and its mission of free knowledge for every single person.
Today, many women and girls around the world lack access to online resources—because of a lack of digital skills and/or lack of access.
The EQUALS Global Partnership is a growing network of companies, foundations, academia, United Nations agencies, and civil society organizations which come together to bridge the digital gender divide.
By promoting awareness, leveraging resources and knowledge, harnessing the capacities of partners, and supporting real action, EQUALS seeks to achieve digital gender equality. Through this, they aim to improve the livelihoods of millions around the world.
EQUALS does this through four main streams of work:
- ACCESS – Improve women and girls’ digital technology access, connectivity and security
- SKILLS – Support development of science, technology, engineering and math skills of women and girls
- LEADERSHIP – Promote women in decision-making roles within the ICT field
Supporting these work areas is the EQUALS Research Group, which is comprised of experts in information gathering and analysis. The group focuses on generating knowledge about the existence, causes and remedies for gender tech inequalities, and on motivating key stakeholder groups, including private sector companies, government departments, regulatory agencies, and academia, to collect and share gender-relevant data.
“Access to information is a foundational right and critical to ensuring that no group or community gets left behind in our changing world,” said Katherine Maher, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation. “The internet offers the unprecedented opportunity for women and other underserved communities across the world to meaningfully enjoy this right. We do not believe our societies will be truly equitable until all our voices can be heard.”
“This is why the Wikimedia Foundation is committed to supporting a truly global community in which everyone can access and share in all knowledge,” she added. “Our partnership with EQUALS is grounded in our shared commitment to create a more open and inclusive internet for all.”
The Wikimedia Foundation currently works to improve access of women and girls to digital knowledge through a number of interventions. For instance, through an ongoing gender-focused grants program, we have helped improve our movement’s understanding of the gender gap and supported communities in designing and implementing creative new projects that are increasing gender diversity across Wikimedia projects.
Whether it’s finding creative ways to improve contributor retention, creating and/or improving quality content about and for women, or raising awareness and introducing women to Wikimedia projects, the grants program has generated a much needed conversation on diversity and the gender gap, as well as amplified the importance of investing in community-led gender-leaning initiatives.
On a day to day basis, the Wikimedia Foundation works within a network of Wikimedia affiliates and partners around the world to create a more inclusive movement through initiatives like women-led Wikipedia edit-a-thons, WikiWomen Camps, and the Art+Feminism program.
Georgina Fields, Lead Programs Manager, Partnerships and Global Reach