Joint initiative in Hanoi to make internet more gender equal

October 19, 2018

Hoang Thuy Linh and Nguyen Bao Ngoc successfully published two articles during Wikipedia writers' workshop today

Hanoi 19 October 2018: The Swedish Embassy, UNDP, UN Women, civil society organisations, business community and local media are cooperating with Wikimedia to highlight achievements of women from Vietnam on the occasion of the National Womens Day (20 October). With the initiative, the organisers want to increase the number of women being represented on Wikipedia and help to make the internet and the society as a whole more gender-equal.

Wikipedia is the world’s largest online and user-generated encyclopaedia. Its content influences and colours users’ knowledge about the world. But there is a great imbalance on the website, like in society at large. Ninety per cent of the content is created by men, and there are four times more articles about men than there are about women. The figures vary regionally, but the picture is the same all over the world: the information about women is not only less extensive than that about men. In the Vietnamese version of Wikipedia the numbers are even lower: less than 18% of the biographies are about women.

This event is a part of the global #WikiGap campaign, originally launched by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Wikimedia Sweden. Similar events have already been held together with local actors and partners in more than 50 countries worldwide to improve women’s representation on the internet and help create a more gender-equal world.

#WikiGap aims to provide a platform for volunteers and all those who want to contribute to a more gender-equal internet. The theme was determined by the organisers, but the texts produced will be the work of the participants themselves in the edit-a-thons.

Speaking at the opening Swedish Ambassador Pereric Högberg said “When women are being overlooked we simply miss out the potential of half of the population. That’s not only a waste of resource but also being stupid. Wikipedia is a modern form of history writing. By raising the representation of women biographies we will access more information which can help us all to learn, grow and develop. When the Nobel Prize Committé this year announced Donna Strickland as the winner of the prize in physics her biography was not on the Wikipedia. An editor had unsuccessfully tried to publish an article about her. It was refused by the moderator due to the lack of reference for the soon to be Nobel Prize Winner qualified for a Wikipedia article. A striking example of the lack of gender equality on internet.

#WikiGap initiative aims to improve the representation of women on Wikipedia. During the day-long event, participants will add content to Wikipedia by writing new articles and editing existing ones with information on women profiles, experts and significant women as role models in different fields. 

“This event is happening at a critical time – immediately following the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty (Wednesday) and just before Vietnam National Women’s Day (Saturday),” Ms. Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Country Director in Viet Nam, said in her opening remarks, on behalf of UNDP and UN Women. “People often think of poverty in terms of access to income, safe drinking water, good education and healthcare – which are all essential. However, we must take care in this time of transition to IR 4.0, that we do not create new forms of poverty that leave women behind in a deepening digital divide.  Key to an equal future is empowering women and girls today to be digitally literate so that they can take full and equal advantage of  technologies – from the internet to the internet of things – as leaders and agents of change".

For further information, please contact:  

Pham Tung Lam, Swedish Embassy, 0904769246,

Nguyen Viet Lan, UNDP, 0914436769,