Desi Deck of Dames: selection criteria

I announced the Desi Deck of Dames a month ago, and the support I got was great! I’ve mostly figured out the operations — I know where I’ll be running my campaign, I have a solid list of 50 nominees (though I’m always looking for more) and I’ve been working with the talented Ayesha Rana to get the initial visual design of the deck worked out! All of this was easier than I expected it to be. Having said that, I was stuck with the toughest task of this initiative —puzzling out who would be featured.

Selection Criteria

Beyond the obvious (i.e. must be Indian and must identify as female), someone featured in this deck would ideally:

  • have changed something major, that wouldn’t have happened without the work they did
  • be relatively unknown outside of the circles of their work, and thus would benefit from the exposure the deck would provide them.

Some examples

  • A lawyer who represented a path-breaking case
  • A journalist whose article initiated a harder look into the subject, and elicited conversations where there previously would have been none
  • A policy activist whose findings and recommendations, on adoption, have proven to having a net beneficial outcome to the people it impacted
  • A business woman’s impact on providing gender parity in the workplace, increasing opportunities for women in the field

What methods and criteria do other popular lists rely on?

Highly reputed lists like Forbes’ 30 under 30 “…evaluate[s] each candidate by a set of key quantifiable metrics, such as funding, revenue and number of people impacted, as well as ‘winning’ qualities such as inventiveness, social benefits and promise…”[1].

Regarding nominations

I had a lot of people write in about people they were inspired by, people they’ve worked with, and people they know who have been responsible for systemic changes in their respective niches. Here’s the problem though — there wasn’t much information about the work they’ve done, and the implications of that work, in the public space. Only 23% of all the people recommended for the deck so far have Wikipedia articles about them! This issue is indicative of a larger gap — only 17% of all biographical articles written on Wikipedia are women.

An accurate representation of potential nominees, courtesy Krishna Somya
  • If you have been on Wikipedia for a while and can help with editing and quality checking new articles,
  • If you are an organisation that would like to host a Wikipedia editathon around this topic in general,

Open source | Undergrad | Tango. I am one part tech-bro and one part feminist. I collect interesting people for self-discovery purposes. I like pizza.

Open source | Undergrad | Tango. I am one part tech-bro and one part feminist. I collect interesting people for self-discovery purposes. I like pizza.