Written By: Imuetinyan Ugiagbe
On August 12th, a day also known as International Youth Day, I participated in the Herstory Edit-A-Thon was organized by Wikipedia on behalf of the Girls Education Initiative of Ghana- US Inc. The main event took place at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, but other cities (London, Cairo, Mexico City, Dubai and Delhi) around the world hosted their own mini Edit-A-Thons.The campaign’s mission was to bring together editors to edit, improve and write stories of women leaders and issues related to women’s leadership. GEIG- US and our subsidiary the Girls Education Initiative of Ghana work to educate and empower girls, we attended to support the movement. Also in attendance were were the United Nations Women and UN Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth. Also present were volunteers (men, women and children) who brought their personal laptops to edit, write, and increase the presence of women on Wikipedia online and in history; Therefore, we must begin to write Herstory.
Many of the stories found in our history books were written about men because men were the ones who wrote them. This is why it is called his-story. For most of human history, women were only seen and not heard. They were viewed as commodities and not people. However, there were those extraordinary women whose excellences and courage broke the silence, their remarkable talents leaving the world speechless. Margaret Fuller, Madam C.J Walker, Njing Mbandi and Hattie Mcdaniel are among the few, but there are countless women whose stories are waiting to written. In 2016, we believe more women and girls should be represented. To bridge that “knowledge gap,” we must include Her-story. As one of the speakers from the event put it, we shouldn’t just write, we must “be bold when we write herstory.”
Another speaker shared a story about his mom. He teasingly said he wouldn’t tell us the whole story because he did not seek permission from his mother. However, he shared enough to reveal her strength and courage. As he spoke, I began to think about the mission of this era. I have heard too many times that every generation has its mission. So, the question that came to my mind was, what is my generation’s mission? Then I heard the speaker say, The Herstory Edit-A-Thon campaign is not an institution but a movement.” This is the era of building bridges and writing down those stories that were omitted in our history books. This is an era where change is possible, but it will require the collective efforts of every members of society. This is the era where girls’ education will be just as important as boys.’ Though we have made great progress since the days when women were considered property, there is more work to be done. As I listened to the speaker’s voice projecting from the microphone, I felt confident that my generation is on board with this mission. Rewriting History to include the accomplishments of women requires the intention and efforts of both men and women. The fact that both sexes were enthusiastically presented at this event gives me and I believe everyone who attended great hope for the future.