Mayor of London: There Aren’t Enough Wikipedia Bios on Women, Female Editors for Site

Sadiq Khan / Getty Images

London Mayor Sadiq Khan penned an op-ed published Tuesday in which he argued there are not enough Wikipedia biographies about women or females editing the free online encyclopedia.

"Why we need to close Wikipedia's gender page gap," the Labour Party politician wrote for the Telegraph‘s women section.

"It's the fifth most visited website in the world, and the first port of call for those of us in search of information about a famous person or historical event," Khan wrote. "But did you know that only 17 per cent of Wikipedia's biographies are about women? It's a woefully inaccurate reflection of women's achievements—and it has to change."

"With 83 per cent of biographies on Wikipedia about men, you may not be surprised to learn that men also make up around 85 per cent of those who edit pages on the site," the mayor continued. "That is also something we want to see change—after all, anyone can be a Wikipedia editor if they want to, and this could go a huge way in leveling the playing field."

Khan announced an "edit-a-thon" at Bloomberg's London offices, where "schoolgirls from across the city will be joining forces with Wikipedia's experts and women in the tech industry to create a surge in new pages about women, and to add more detail to existing ones."

"Events like this build a supportive environment to help empower young women to put forward ideas, and feel their contribution is valued," he added. "By supporting them to feel at home with the editing process, and encouraging them to think about the remarkable women that are still in need of a Wikipedia biography, we can make a real difference."

One of the women who Khan promised the schoolgirls would add to Wikipedia was Maud Palmer, the Countess of Selborne who was part of the British women's suffrage campaign. Palmer is "without a Wikipedia page," Khan complained. "Not after today."

Khan is actually incorrect. Countess Palmer does have a Wikipedia page, and it has existed since November 2017.