Government's feminist Wikipedia project faces criticism

6:59 min

Sweden is hosting writing workshops - or edit-a-thons - at 50 of its embassies on International Women's Day in an effort to increase the representation of women on Wikipedia, but the initiative has raised eyebrows in the tech community.

The aim of the WikiGap project is to increase the number of articles about women on Wikipedia and to encourage more women to write and edit content. 

Lina Eidmark, who is the WikiGap project leader at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, said the government is providing a platform for volunteers to help close what Eidmark described as a "gender gap" on Wikipedia.

However, critics say that there are no formal obstacles to women writing for Wikipedia and that governments should not orchestrate campaigns to shape its content.

Anya Alenberg, communications manager at internet service provider Bahnhof, said: "I don't get why this is a governmental thing to approach women and say 'you should write more about women'. I think women should do it themselves. Just do it!" 

Karl Sigfrid, a former Moderate Party MP and the former EU policy manager for Wikimedia Sweden, said WikiGap will help add more content to Wikipedia, but he also suggested that it is inappropriate for a government to organise edit-a-thons.