Advancing Feminism Online: Online Tools, Visibility, and Women in Classics

Victoria Leonard, Sarah E. Bond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Can online tools address gender bias in classics? Through two case studies, this article explores the use of crowd-sourcing in order to develop digital tools that amplify women and provide them with a firmer online identity. The first, Wikipedia.org, is already entrenched in the popular research realm, and the second, WOAH (Women of Ancient History), is currently being developed as a reference tool. Wikipedia.org is the most influential source of knowledge in the world, but it has a stubborn gender bias against women. This distortion is particularly evident in the field of classics, where prior to 2017 only 7% of biographies of classicists featured women. Here, ‘classics’ is an inclusive term, and is broadly conceived to include the field of Late Antiquity. This short article details how the Women's Classical Committee (UK)'s Wikipedia editing initiative, #WCCWiki, and the development of WOAH, have successfully increased the visibility of women online. Consequently, it offers a model to mobilize change with few physical or financial resources, but rather facilitated by digital tools and social media. Through digital feminist activism, there is the potential to reverse the gender skew of classicists online and in the public discourse, while also creating an inclusive space that is professional, proactive, and accessible to all.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-16
Number of pages13
JournalStudies in Late Antiquity
Volume3
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Wikipedia
  • women
  • online
  • classics
  • activism
  • digital humanities
  • geographic information systems
  • network analysis, gender bias

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