WIZO and Wikimedia Israel launch competition to promote Israeli women online

Collaboration aims to add, recognize, 150 female Israeli figures to Wikipedia.

March 24, 2015 18:02
2 minute read.
 Prof. Rivka Lazovsky, chairwoman of WIZO World Executive.

Prof. Rivka Lazovsky, chairwoman of WIZO World Executive.. (photo credit: ELI DASSA)

The Women’s International Zionist Organization has teamed up with Wikimedia Israel in an initiative to add content on leading Jewish and Israeli female figures to the online encyclopedia’s Hebrew site.

The project aims to create pages for 150 prominent Israeli women who have not yet received Wikipedia recognition, in the fields of education, culture, economy, security, sports and society.

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Launched as part of Wikipedia’s international activities for Women’s History Month, the initiative calls on writers from the general public to submit their candidacy to write the content.

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

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

The 150 women were chosen according to criteria that Wikipedia determined, including the nature of their work and its contribution to society.

“We chose contemporary women with the aim of unveiling their achievements to the world and ensuring [that] their values and accomplishments will be written on Wikipedia,” Lazovsky 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 Wikipedia conducted in May 2014, a vast majority of Israelis – some 65% – use the site on a regular basis, and 75% of Wikipedia users consider it their main source of information.

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

Among the women the project will feature are author Orly Krauss-Winer; Sandra Branson, one of the founders of women’s basketball in Israel; and two-time chess champion Masha Klinova.

“WIZO sees this as an important mission, and we are very happy with this collaboration,” said Lazovsky.

“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.”

According to the WIZO chairwoman, the competition has already garnered widespread interest and an array of content-writing candidates, 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.

The two organizations are also holding 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.

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