Wikipedia pre- and post-Sue Gardner are two completely different organizations. When she arrived at Wikimedia, the nonprofit behind Wikipedia, in 2007, the organization had under 10 employees and was raising less than $3 million dollars annually. In 2011, Wikimedia’s number of donors had increased ten times over, raising $23 million. Gardner is focused on expanding Wikipedia’s scope for readers and contributors, especially in the global South… in 2012, Gardner led the full-day Wikipedia blackout in protest against SOPA, one of the only major websites to do so.
Kashmir Hill has also written an extended profile of Sue for Forbes:
In order to increase the number of editors, the Wikimedia Foundation â€” the non-profit arm that supports Wikipedia â€” has started recruiting in Brazil and India and is more heavily recruiting females (who make up just 10-15% of editors now). Expanding the world of editors has additional benefits beyond halting the editor erosion.
“We think its important because Wikipedias promise to people is that well bring them the sum of all human knowledge, and we dont want to just bring them the sum of male knowledge or global North knowledge,” says Gardner. The percentage of editors from Africa very low, and thus our coverage of Africa isnt very good. We have more articles about New York City than we have about some countries in Africa. The same is true for gender… If only 10 to 15% of editors are women, topics of interest to women arent going to be as excellently covered as they otherwise would be. Its not a moral, ideological or feminist issue; its an issue of quality. We want to bring the sum of all human knowledge to everybody and we cant do that unless everybodys at the table.”
Working with Sue as a board member has been invaluable for the Ada Initiative. Not only is Sue a really experienced and successful non-profit executive who has given us the benefit of many of her insights into successful programs and fundraising, she’s also sharing the open culture perspective with us. She told Kashmir Hill:
Gardner is an easy pick for anyone making a list of ladies in technology,” but its funny to her that shes on that list.
People say to me that Im a role model in technology, but it makes me laugh, because Im not a technologist, Im a journalist â€“ thats my background,” she says. Im a manager of technological projects and works but Im not myself a Linux Kernel coder.”
Since the Ada Initiative was founded by technologists, it is extra important to us to have the insight of Sue and other leading women in other areas of open technology and culture. Thank you so much Sue, and congratulations!