The 36 million freely licensed images on Wikimedia Commons are for the most part undiscovered by the public. Few people see the beautiful historic, artistic, and community-created photos, GIFs and videos that Wikipedia's media repository has to offer. At the same time, there have been estimates that women make up about 15% of Wikipedia's active contributors. Online discussions about increasing the diversity of Wikipedia's content and contributors have at times been tense. How could we raise awareness of the treasures in Wikimedia Commons and engage women on social media?
We built Pinterest boards on women explorers, on International Women's Day, and on great women photographers. We invited volunteer Wikipedia editors to take part, and they built boards on women of science and embroidery. All of these featured beautiful, freely licensed photos from Wikimedia Commons that might have gone overlooked otherwise. We blogged about our Pinterest account and posted about it on Twitter and Facebook. We demonstrated it at international conferences in Berlin, Italy, and Armenia. The girls and women we featured on our boards ranged from a composer born in 1552 to a student born in 2002; from Dorothea Lange's portrait of a migrant farmer mother to heiress Aimée Crocker; from the Underground Railroad's Harriet Tubman to NASA's Peggy Whitson, the first woman to command the International Space Station. The photos we posted were shareable on Pinterest and clicked through to freely licensed images on Wikimedia Commons and articles on Wikipedia. Viewers met amazing women through images, learned about them in articles, and passed them along to friends.
In the six months since we launched our account, the number of daily visitors to Wikipedia from Pinterest has nearly doubled, from 5,654 a day to 10,365 a day. The number of Pinterest users seeing content from Wikipedia has increased by 1.2 million per month from 15.9 million a month in March to 17.1 million in August. Of that 17.1 million, 11.5 million are women. That's 69% of our total reach, and one of the few places in the Wikimedia movement that is predominantly women. Our account, which didn't exist six months ago, now has 32 boards, 926 pinned images, and 55,300 followers. Our board on women explorers picked up 38,000 impressions in two days during Women's History Month in March.