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Responding to inequity, effort adds bios of prominent Sonoran women to Wikipedia

Readers of Wikipedia in Spanish will now be able to learn about important but previously overlooked Sonoran women.

The vast majority of Wikipedia editors are men, as are the vast majority of those with biographies on the massive, online free encyclopedia, accordingto the Wikimedia Foundation.

But over the weekend, a group of roughly 60 Sonoran women got together to push back against that gender inequity, adding nearly two dozen new entries and updating even more — with support from Wikipedia Mexico. 

“It was very exciting to us,” said Lourdes Encinas, who organized the so-called editatona with Wendy Aviles. “Seeing so many women dedicate their time to training themselves, investigating and editing, and putting in an eight-hour day dedicated to helping make other women shine.”

Encinas spent her day writing about María Jesús Guirado, a trailblazing labor activist and politician who was the first woman elected to the state Congress, one of a number of achievements anyone with an internet connection can now easily learn about.

But despite those achievements, Encinas noted that it was a challenge finding enough references to meet Wikipedia’s standards, highlighting the Catch-22 that the historic exclusion of women from reference books and other texts complicates efforts to finally recognize their contributions.

Murphy Woodhouse was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2018 to 2023.