Women and Wikimedian projects: Delphine Ménard (Notafish)
For the background of this series of interviews, as well as for other interviews, please take a look at the page Women and Wikimedia projects and its subpages.
How long are you involved in Wikimedian projects?
Delphine Ménard: 3 years in October 2007.
Do you have some of the privileges on projects: admin, bureaucrat, checkuser, oversight, steward? (You don’t need to tell what privileges you have.) If you have some of them, do you think that you gain them easier or harder because you are female or you think that it was not relevant?
Delphine Ménard: At the time I got my admin rights on fr, I believe the fact that I was a woman did play a role in my obtaining them so fast (around 3 months after I got on the project), although it probably would not have played a role had I not been very active at the time. My admin rights on commons and meta came, in my opinion, solely from my work there, and my being a woman was irrelevant.
By your opinion, what is the main reason of small relative number of women on Wikimedian projects?
Delphine Ménard: Frankly I don’t really know. The geek subculture? Less women are geeks? The fact that it’s harder to multitask on Wikimedia projects and that women are usually better at multitasking and have too many other interests? The fact that women are not so enclined to share their knowledge? Because women don’t care about having a funky user name? 😉 I’m making it up really, I don’t see any objective reason why women are so scarce, although I think the relative number has hugely increased since I first arrived.
Do you think that your communication with the rest of the (particular and global) community is easier or harder because you are female or you think that it is not relevant?
Delphine Ménard: I think gender is not relevant.
If you were in some decision-making process, do you think that your opinion (not) passed easier or harder because you are female or you think that it was not relevant?
Delphine Ménard: I am not sure that the “woman” factor comes into play as much as the “vocal” factor. ie. I am rather vocal and my opinion would be taken into consideration because I am “known” in the Wikimedia circles rather than solely because I am a woman.
Do you think that Wikimedian culture is sexist?
Delphine Ménard: Not specifically. I think that Wikimedian men are as sexist as the next and that Wikimedian women are as sexist as the next, but not that it is particularly more or less sexist than any of the Western cultures I have been in contact with. One could argue that a few channels turn to sexist dens once in a while, but not more or less than anything in normal life. Leave too many men together, and you’ll get sex and video games, leave too many women together and you’ll get sex and gossip.
Have you ever been insulted on sexual/gender basis? If you did, how often is it happening?
Delphine Ménard: No.
By your opinion, are there some positive examples and positive trends in Wikimedian communities toward better involvement of females in contributing to Wikimedian projects?
Delphine Ménard: If there are trends towards better involvement, I am not aware of them. But I am not of the kind who would support involvement on a gender basis. To me, it is important to have the right amount of good contributors and to work towards making anyone who has something to contribute to the Wikimedia projects welcome, regardless of their gender.
What do you think that it should be done to change the situation?
Delphine Ménard: It’s a loaded question :-). I am not sure that the situation needs to be
By your opinion, what are the most important issues which should be solved to make better involvement of women in contributing to Wikimedian projects?
Delphine Ménard: Make sure that we never appeal to one audience rather than another in our calls for help. I don’t believe it’s an issue today, though. Just something we might want to keep in mind for the future.
Do you think that there are some other important questions related to this issue? If so, please tell them and try to give an answer to them.
Delphine Ménard: Well, I am not a great feminist. I tend to think that people, regardless of their gender, have different ways of looking at the world and approaching it, and different interests. Today, we might say that there are more men than women in the Wikimedia projects, but this could change tomorrow. I am not a huge fan of saying “there are few women in the Wikimedia projecs because they don’t find their place” or something of the kind, I am rather enclined to say “there are few women in the Wikimedia projects because they’re not as interested”. I believe in “difference”. Everyone is an individual who has something to bring to the Wikimedia projects, or nothing to bring, for that matter. And since we are advocating NPOV, I believe we should not give more importance to the gender than we do to one or the other reason for involvement in the projects
Delphine Ménard: This closes the answers of the Delphine jury 😉