This most recent move to improve the information and exposure disparity between female and male artists readily available to the general public is not a new concept, but it is a new and promising approach.
It’s no secret that female artists are extremely underrepresented in art museums. In reference to ancient art, this is a fact most of us are probably used to, but the problem of representation persists in modern art, too. Various movements that put pressure on institutions to rectify this problem have been working for years on the issue. For instance, the artist/activist group Guerrilla Girls began work in 1985 and continues to use posters and public performance art to raise awareness about the gender disparity in major museums.
This event takes a different approach, aimed at an even more public source of information: Wikipedia. With so many people using the site as a primary source of quick info, an “edit-a-thon” seems like the perfect way to narrow gaps in mass media’s delivery of information to users. It’s specific (with one website targeted and a compiled list of main articles to edit). It’s large in scope (with editors contributing in 18 cities). And it’s crowdsourced (open to anyone in the given cities with some time to spare).
The Bitch Magazine article frames it well:
“Since over half of internet users say they have used Wikipedia to find information, the absence of women artists from the site is the equivalent of leaving them out of the history books. Luckily, unlike a history book, Wikipedia is easy to change.”