Knowledge Equity: How far do we have to go?

Knowledge equity is the Wikimedia movement’s commitment to focus efforts on the knowledge and communities that have been left out by structures of power and privilege. This is a central pillar of the movement’s 2030 strategy.

The Wikimedia vision is a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. Yet, Wikipedia and other Wikimedia projects do not currently reflect the world’s diversity. Specifically, our projects are largely missing the histories, stories, and contexts of women and nonbinary people; those within the LGBTQI+ community; people with disabilities; and those within the global majority, including Black people, Indigenous peoples, and people of color. 

These gaps will always feel impossible to close if they are not quantifiable. 

To better understand exactly how big the gaps are, and in order to best support the important work already underway to address them, the Wikimedia Foundation has been examining the level of trust and understanding that people have in our projects and work. This research equips us, as a movement, with tools to comprehend how internet users think of, identify with, and support our mission worldwide.

Research methodology 

Introduction

To date, we have conducted research surveys in Brazil, Nigeria, South Africa, and the United States based on their unique demographics (religious, racial, ethnic, sexual identities, orientation and disabilities, as well as other cultural lines) and diversities of opinion.

The surveys in each country were carefully approached with an understanding that each country has its own nuances, lexicons, and social and cultural sensitivities. For each study, we have used classifications and languages from the official census of the country.

Focus and topic areas 

We evaluated:

  • Participants’ feelings of representation in the general media, Wikipedia, and the Wikimedia Foundation
  • Comparisons in participants’ awareness, usage, and consideration to use Wikipedia 
  • The brand values and concepts participants associate with Wikipedia
  • Participants’ interest in editing and contributing to Wikipedia, as well as the key drivers and barriers to editing

How this data will be used 

These data and insights will enable the Wikimedia movement to: 

  • Better understand audiences within these countries and some of the reasons for representation gaps in our movement, among both editors and readers
  • Identify opportunities to strengthen and improve our efforts towards knowledge equity 
  • Develop more effective communications to increase engagement with those who are underrepresented in the Wikimedia movement
  • Better measure progress, establish accountability, and set benchmarks for improvement

Learn more about other ways the Wikimedia movement is working to achieve knowledge equity.

Help us unlock the world’s knowledge.

As a nonprofit, Wikipedia and our related free knowledge projects are powered primarily through donations.

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