WikiGap initiative in Skopje brings great turnout and success in raising awareness for gender equality

The Swedish Embassy in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in collaboration with UN Women Skopje office and the local branch of Wikipeida – Shared Knowledge, jointly organised the initiative WikiGap in Skopje.

Date: Friday, June 22, 2018

WikiGap in Skopje Photo: UN Women/Mirjana Nedeva
WikiGap in Skopje. Photo: UN Women/Mirjana Nedeva

(Skopje, 20 June) – Over 55 volunteers – students, recent graduates and gender experts – worked on narrowing the gender gap on Wikipedia in Macedonian language at the #WikiGap event, organised by the Swedish Embassy in the FYR Macedonia, UN Women Skopje office and the local branch of Wikipedia – Shared Knowledge in Skopje. Their work resulted in developing 103 new articles on women and gender equality issues that made a significant mark in the country.

H.E. Mats Staffansson, Ambassador of Sweden. Photo: UN Women/Mirjana Nadeva
H.E. Mats Staffansson, Ambassador of Sweden. Photo: UN Women/Mirjana Nadeva

Starting from this year’s 8th March, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Wikimedia took a joint global action to help make the internet more gender equal. In that respect, edit-a-thons aimed at increasing the number of women on Wikipedia are being organized in countries around the world. In Skopje, the initiative #WikiGap was organized under UN Women Skopje's local series of events titled “Not Only on March 8th”, an initiative which was born to make a point that gender related issues should not be in the limelight only once a year, but should be publicly debated throughout the year, with the aim to advance gender equality.

H.E. Mats Staffansson, Ambassador of Sweden, reflected on the Swedish feminist foreign policy, which uses all available foreign policy tools for promoting and achieving gender equality. “We tend to say that our foreign policy is about three R’s: rights, representation and resources. Today we focus on the second R: increased representation of women. Indeed, women are underrepresented in various fields – and not very surprisingly also on the internet. This is despite the fact that many women have been playing an integral part of shaping world history but not getting the justified recognition for it”, said H.E. Mats Staffansson.

WikiGap Skopje. Photo: UN Women/Mirjana Nedeva
Over 55 volunteers participated in #WikiGap in Skopje. Photo: UN Women/Mirjana Nedeva

“This event is direcly related to 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development through promotion of access and usage of ICT by women and girls. This is very important because the usage of the information technologies allow equal access to women and girls for online study resources and enhances their empowerment”, said Ivona Paunovic Bishevac, Project Officer from UN Women Skopje.

The newly developed 103 articles by the volunteers are currently being validated by the Wikipedia team in Skopje – Shared knowledge, and will be posted online. The event had great turnout, with over 100 volunteers who registered to edit articles – over 55 volunteers were physically present at the event – and others were editing articles online from their homes. At the same time, WikiGap in Skopje brought together young people and gender equality experts, at served as a platform for sharing knowledge and experiences.