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© Marcel Backscheider

There is a double gender gap on Wikipedia: only around 17% of biographical entries are dedicated to women; moreover, only 10% of the authors of articles for Wikipedia are women. The “Women in Design” (link in German) theory seminar led by Prof. Dr. Petra Eisele from the Communication Design department at Mainz University of Applied Sciences aimed to counteract this “gap”. The event took a comprehensive look at the role of women in graphic design and typography. Based on current gender-relevant topics, research was undertaken into female roles and professional fields in which women have been and are active in graphic design and book design – as bookbinders, printers, illustrators, photographers, type designers or typographers. In the process, it quickly became clear “that female designers, who were quite successful in their time, do not appear in the history of design”.

What was special about the seminar: The students not only took this into account by researching biographies and design examples of female graphic designers and creating their own texts on the designers. In wiki workshops, they also learned how to create and publish articles on Wikipedia. The result: as an “analog” form of edit-a-thon, the texts and images were also presented to the public as an analog exhibition together with the publication on Wikipedia. New Wikipedia entries were created and edited on designers such as Elisabeth Colwell, Lina Burger, Käthe Lore Zschweigert, Eglantyne Louisa Jebb, Ethel Reed, Lili Schultz, Emmy Seyfried and many more.

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