Today, International Women’s Day, was also the beginning of Women’s History Month which highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. To mark the occasion, WIZO, the Women’s International Zionist Organization, a volunteer organization dedicated to social welfare in all sectors of Israeli society, launched a competition to document the activities of Israeli women leaders.
Held in cooperation with Wikimedia Israel, which supports Wikipedia activity in Israel, WIZO has created a list of 150 Israeli women ground-breakers who, to date, have not been entered into Wikipedia. The idea is to address gender inequality in the online encyclopedia’s entries by asking people to contribute entries about the prominent women.
Shown: The Union of Hebrew Women for Equal Rights in Eretz Israel was established in 1919 to campaign for women’s suffrage in the Land of Israel. In 1948, with the establishment of the State of Israel, the Union merged with WIZO.
Similar “edit-a-thons” have been carried out in the fields of art and architecture. The Israeli competition will last two months and will be held in parallel to dozens of Women’s History Month events around the world conducted by the Wikimedia movement.
Prof. Rivka Lazovsky, chairman of the World WIZO stated, “Over the years, women have been absent from history books and this is an opportunity to reflect their contribution to contemporary history”.
A survey conducted by the Wikimedia Israel in May 2014 revealed that the majority of Israelis (65%) use Wikipedia as a source of information on a consistent and daily basis; 75% use Wikipedia as a major source of information, 50% go to Wikipedia for information about personages and historical figures.
Lazovsky noted that the data “reinforces the need to expand the number of entries relating to women leaders and to reveal information about their unique activities”.
The list includes formidable women such as the late Malka Braverman, deputy head of Mossad in the 1950s who participated special intelligence operations including the capture of Adolf Eichmann; and the late Yona Zeliuk, who was part of the landmark 1921 Tower of David art exhibition.
Also on the list: attorney Deborah Chen, former deputy state prosecutor and senior specialist in criminal law; industrialist and philanthropist Raya Strauss-Ben Dror; physicist Prof. Ora Entin-Wholman of Ben Gurion University of the Negev, named by the American Physical Society as one of the world’s ten influential physicists; industrialist Julia Zohar, general manager of the Nazareth-based Tehinat al Erez company; investigative journalist Sharon Szporer; Dr. Avital Schrift, director of missile systems at Israel Aircraft industries (IAI) and winner of the Israel Defense Prize for her part in the development of the Arrow missile; international chess grandmaster Masha Klinov, two-time Israel Chess champion (women’s division); author Orly Krauss-Wiener and many more.
The competition — in Hebrew only — is open the general public. Wikipedia Israel has posted a dedicated page about the competition, instructions on how to write entries and, most importantly, the list of 150 women whose entries must be written.
Wikipedia Israel will also hold four training sessions on proper entry-writing. Contest winners will be announced in June and cash prizes will be awarded at a ceremony in Tel Aviv. For more information (in Hebrew only), visit Wikipedia Israel at tinyURL.com/150nashim.