WIZO and Wikimedia Israel launch competition to promote Israeli women online


The Women International Zionists Organizations (WIZO) and Wikimedia Israel have teamed up to launch a competition to add content on leading female figures in Israeli society and in the Jewish world to the internet encyclopedia's site.

The project aims to raise awareness and add 150 prominent Israeli female figures who have not yet received recognition on Wikipedia to the Hebrew encyclopedia in the fields of education, culture, economy, security, sports, and society.

"We chose to come out with this project on International Woman's Day in order to bring to light the stories of women who are left out of the history books," Professor Rivka Lazovsky, chairwoman of World WIZO Executive told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

The project, launched as part of Wikipedia's international activities surrounding Women’s History Month, calls on writers from the general public to submit their candidacy to write the content. The 150 women were chosen according to criteria decided upon by Wikipedia, including the nature of their work and its contribution to society.

"We chose contemporary women with the aim to unveil their achievements to the world and ensure their values and accomplishments will be written on Wikipedia," she explained. "None of the women are currently featured on the site and most are not even found on Google or other places despite their many prominent activities."

According to a survey conducted by Wikipedia in May 2014, a vast majority of Israelis, some 65%, use Wikipedia on a regular basis; while 75% of Wikipedia users consider it their main source of information.

This data further underscores the need to incorporate successful women into the internet site and raise the profile of Israeli women while inspiring a new generation of girls, explained Lazovsky.

Among the women chosen to be featured include Israeli author Orly Krauss-Winer, Sandra Branson, one of the founders of women's basketball in Israel, and two time Israeli chess champion Masha Klinova.

"WIZO sees this as an important mission and we are very happy with this collaboration. We think the general public, women and men alike, will also be happy to get to know women who are doing groundbreaking work as well as adding to Israel's contributions to the world," said Lazovsky.

According to the WIZO chairwoman, the competition has already garnered widespread interest and an array of candidates to write the content, including children and youth.

"We have received wonderful feedback and people are even asking if they can add women to the list – something we hope we can do in the future," she said.

In June, at the end of the two month long competition, a joint WIZO and Wikipedia committee will announce the winners, who will write the content for the site and receive recognition and a cash prize.

The two organizations are also holding special Wikipedia content writing training programs for interested candidates throughout the country.

"We welcome the general public to take part in this endeavor and sign up through the Wikipedia Israel website and hope it will generate as much excitement as we feel," said Lazovsky.

Source: Jerusalem Post
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