Wikimedia for girls

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This is intended to be a reply to Sue Gardner's blog post on "Unlocking the Clubhouse" with clickable links, because Wordpress silently discards attempted posts with more than a certain number of URLs.

There are a number of issues which would help both women and men, but would help women more. Single payer health care, which the Canadians know saves 40% -- a huge amount -- enjoys widespread popular support but isn't even included in modern budget simulators like the NY Times' and the much worse LA Times', which is an abject push-poll because of its inaccuracies about tax rates and only one very limited way to raise taxes on the rich. Clearly universal health care would help women with the bias against longer pregnancy leaves. Also shortening the work week would help relieve stress on everyone while decreasing unemployment. But there is little the Foundation can do directly about those things. The female head of the Foundation, however, has a more powerful pulpit than the Foundation as a whole on those topics.

There are also at least three things that the Wikimedia Foundation could do directly, today. Hans Rosling, the epidemiologist at Doctors without Borders, has pointed out that the fastest economic growth occurs about 15-20 years after the education of girls. To take advantage of this, the Foundation could:

  • help both girls and boys by instituting simple wikipedias in languages other than English for beginning readers of all ages;
  • implement audio upload using Flash, even before Gnash has audio upload (which the Foundation could fund) to help editors add pronunciations to the wiktionaries (the non-English wiktionaries have very sparse recorded pronunciations) and support reading tutoring applications to help language learners of all ages; and
  • implement GIFT with accuracy review instead of staying without low stakes self study assessments. That would also help beginners of all ages.

I have been asking for these things for months, and the reasons against them are the weakest kind of nonsense that men use to keep the clubhouse doors slammed in the face of women: supporting beginners is somehow beneath us (it is certainly beneath the patriarchal guild mentality); Flash isn't free enough because Gnash doesn't have microphone upload on all platforms yet (meanwhile the Gnash programmers are starving on shoestring budgets trying to clear that exclusionary hurdle); and the worst one I've heard is that nobody has proven a simple parser can parse GIFT both forward and backward yet (even though Moodle's GIFT parser is barely two pages of PHP!)

Sue, please lash those clubhouse doors wide open!