The Women's Task Force of the Parliament of World Religions is partnering with the Women's Caucus of the American Academy of Religion and Society of Biblical Literature to highlight women's contributions to religious, spiritual, and wisdom traditions worldwide. Women's contributions have been under-recognized in many fields, particularly world religions. The “1000 Women in Religion Project” seeks to add over 1,000 names and contributions of religious/spiritual/wisdom women to Wikipedia, the largest encyclopedia in the world.
Since its inception, the Parliament of World Religions has been an advocate for women. Women were speakers at the 1893 Parliament including Elizabeth Cady Stanton, author of the Women’s Bible, and Antoinette Brown Blackwell, the first ordained woman in America. The 1993 Parliament endorsed a Global Ethic with four Irrevocable Directives, including the Commitment to a Culture of Equal Rights and Partnership Between Men and Women. Women religious and spiritual leaders were featured at the 1993, 1999, 2004, and 2009 Parliaments, and in 2015, an Inaugural Women’s Assembly was held with over 3,500 participants that included the Declaration for the Dignity and Human Rights of Women.
For the 2018 Parliament, the Women’s Task Force extend the Parliament’s legacy with exciting programs and initiatives. The title for the 2018 Parliament women’s programming is The Dignity of Women Across the World’s Wisdom Traditions and Society. The “1000 Women in Religion Project” is an initiative that seeks to add 1,000 biographies of women religious and spiritual leaders to Wikipedia to bring attention to women’s religious and spiritual leadership worldwide. Elizabeth Ursic, chair of the Women’s Task Force for the Parliament of World Religions, states that “the more we can document and highlight the contributions of women leaders in their religious and spiritual traditions, the more we can change the perception that women have not been leaders.”
In November 2014 only about 15% of the biographies in English Wikipedia were about women. Wikipedia has identified this as a form of systemic bias.
The Wikipedia project “Women in Red”, started in 2014, seeks to increase the representation of women on the Wikipedia platform. As of February 2018, 17.49% of biographies were about women (Wikipedia: WikiProject Women in Red). However, this is not Wikipedia’s only systemic problem. Only 9% of its editors are women (Wikipedia, Gender Bias on Wikipedia). The “1000 Women in Religion Project”, seeks to address both systemic issues by increasing the number of contributions about religion/spiritual/wisdom women on Wikipedia as well as the number of women editors.
Colleen Hartung, co-chair of the “1000 Women in Religion Project”, encourages participation in this project by noting that it is “the type of practical, hands on effort that is needed to reform and transform the sources of knowledge the recreate gender bias and inequality in our religious, spiritual and wisdom traditions and thus in daily lives. Join us!!” You can help by nominating women for the project (historical and contemporary) who are not already named in Wikipedia.
The basic criteria for submission provided by the Wikipedia Women in Red project is notability. Notability is determined by significant coverage in reliable secondary sources (Wikipedia: Notability (People)). For submission to the “1000 Women in Religion Project”, we need a minimum of two reliable secondary resources. More is better. Our joint project also seeks to ensure diversity in our final product. There is no limit on the number of women you may submit. However, we will compile our final list of 1000 in sight of our commitment to a wide representation of religious traditions, geographic locations, time periods, gender identifications, and racial and ethnic identifications.
Alicia Panganiban, Co-Chair of the Women’s Caucus at AAR/SBL highlights the importance to contributing to this project "To my fellow women—this is our time! It is now in our hands to bridge the gender gap. With our collective effort we tell an amazing story that women’s dignity is upheld because of our movement and in our generation we were able to establish gender balance even in the most widely used resource: The Wikipedia. Join us and be part of this moment in history."
The “1000 Women in Religion Project” welcomes the support of other interested organizations. Our highest need is individuals and groups of people willing to become wiki-editors who work to create and submit biographies of women onto the Wikipedia platform. Interested in supporting our efforts at the individual or organizational level? Contact aar.sbl.womens.caucus@gmail.
Getting to the list of 1000 Women in Religion:
The 1000 Women in Religion Project Committee Trainings:
Helpful information on the Wikipedia platform:
On Facebook @WomensCaucusAARSBL
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