Grants:IdeaLab/Bring positive discrimination to Wikipedia

Bring positive discrimination to Wikipedia
Establish a minimum quota of female administrators, bureaucrats and arbitrators.
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created on13:43, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Project idea


What is the problem you're trying to solve?


Only 13% of Wikipedia contributors identify themselves as female. Women's point of view is underrepresented.

What is your solution?


The gender gap has been successfully addressed by parliaments and political systems around the world by establishing a minimum quota of female candidates/members. If we imitate this schema in our own system of administrators, bureaucrats and members of the arbitration committee, we would give visibility and relevance to women's role in Wikipedia. New female editors would get the message that this is not a gentlemen's club. Also, because of an increased feminine involvement in conflict resolution, Wikipedia is likely to slowly tone down its current testosterone-driven aggressiveness, which I believe is a major deterrent to female editors and newcomers in general. It would be a virtuous circle, which would come along with an improved retention rate of new editors.



Long term goal is to increase female participation rate in Wikipedia's active editors count.



Women and Wikimedia Survey 2011

In the 2011 editor's survey, the number of female editors dropped to 9%. An informal survey on over 300 feminine editors (out of a total of 500+) was carried on. I encourage everyone to read its conclusions here. Specifically, when ladies were asked "How do you think that the gender gap can shrink or how do you feel women can be encouraged to participate more?" the second and third more common answers (from a multiple choice) were:

  • 39% of respondents feel that female spokespeople would inspire more women to contribute.
  • 32% of respondents felt that having more women involved as administrators, on-Wiki leaders, OTRS agents and staff would help.

This idea tackles those items.

As has been pointed out in talk page, there are many technical questions on how to implement such a system. I have to say I don't feel qualified to answer them. --Langus-TxT (talk) 23:26, 5 March 2015 (UTC)

Addendum 2


Current numbers of female administrators may already be proportional to the amount of female editors in Wikipedia. Female stewards would be badly outnumbered though. --Langus-TxT (talk) 01:42, 13 March 2015 (UTC)

Get Involved





  1. Edorse! Like has happened (and still is happening) in big companies, after giving them lots of time to include women at top positions on voluntary basis, it is now time for an obligation and for positive discrimation. Ellywa (talk) 16:15, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  2. Endorse; let's not throw out ideas here. I note with a mixture of amusement, despondence and impending alcoholism that a proposal attempting to correct for testosterone-driven aggressive culture has been opposed, on the grounds that it's solving a problem that doesn't exist and is too far, by people whose feedback includes comments like "Insane idea" and "feminist crap". The cognitive dissonance, it burns. Ironholds (talk) 18:29, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  3. Endorse, hey, just dropping in for the first time in months. Men suck; it seems obvious to establish explicitly progressive policy in order to resolve the translated suckiness (i.e., there are a lot of men, so let's make it fewer of them). I couldn't agree more with Ironholds' observation. Blurpeace 20:52, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  4. Endorse, This is totally an accomplishable goal and is a good start. Jessamyn (talk) 22:32, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
  5. Endorse to increase gender diversity and improve Wikipedia:WikiProject Feminism. --Mr. Guye (talk) 00:11, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
  6. It's one of the best ways (nowadays) to guarantee women can take part of wikimedia. Also this will encourage another women to participate. 13:55, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
  7. Endorse, hope it helps! ---Saemikneu (talk) 22:24, 12 March 2015 (UTC)
  8. Comment, the idea here seems to be that offering a subsidy to female editors (easier access to senior positions in Wikipedia) will entice a larger number of women into participating. In theory and over the long-term, I'm fine with that, but in practice, I just don't see that happening. People who become Wiki-bureaucrats are long-term users, not people who have just started out because they heard that it's easier to get a position if they join up. I really think more people (and certainly women) need to be involved in editing Wikipedia but I just don't see any direct link between offering them extremely high level positions and getting new female editors onboard. This sounds more like a gift promotion to women who are already editors and just want an easier path to positions of power.Monopoly31121993 (talk) 16:37, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
As others have said before me, rushing someone into a position for which they are not ready dooms the whole effort to failure. Why would WP want to do that? I'm sure that there are many suitable female candidates already toiling away who are well qualified, but for whatever reason, have never sought an administrationship. Charlotte Whitton's quote (and it's variations), "Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good." did not spring from thin air. In college, I did not submit my portfolio into a competition thinking it wasn't good enough. Two of the three committee members later told me that they ere disappointed not to see my entry because I would have won. Reach out a hand to a woman who is good enough, but may not think of herself that way. The whole project will be rewarded. Thank you, Wordreader (talk) 19:18, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
  1. Endorse with minor suggestions: I suggest a strict 50-50 ratio, adjusting for LGBT members. We should also have at least one or two LGBT members. --Marianian (talk) 16:39, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
    We do have a handful of LGBT admins, but I don't think pushing for more of those is the best idea because they're a minority in general, not just on Wikipedia, and we wouldn't have much success. Ekips39 (talk) 04:10, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
  2. Endorse! I think having more women in visible positions could definitely make new female editors feel more welcome. Absternr (talk) 18:27, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
  3. Endorse! We can remind/ask users to propose adminship to users who clearly identify themselves as female. I do not support positive discrimination by force. --FocalPoint (talk) 16:27, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
  4. Endorse as long as it's limited to my suggestion. Ekips39 (talk) 04:10, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I see the point of Monopoly (true that the lack of fem admins is more a consequence than a cause of the lack of fem editors) but I disagree in the rest of the analysis, it's not a way of unfairly promote female already engaged editors, but a mesure for helping to include them (which have lots of extra-wikimedia factors which make less easy their participation and less probable that women become interested in get a position of power and responsbility) which will result in a common improvement because of the presence of points of view and sensibilities that are rarely developped by people socialized as male.
    In that sens, I totally agree with Marianian ampliation of the idea, as homo/lesbo/bi/transphobia are strongly related with gender inequally, and it would be good to have people from all kind of historically disfavoured groups if we want a truly collaborative culture which don't reproduces and reinforces this oppresions. (Do we?) Aidafuente (talk) 18:21, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
  • A caution Making female editors more visible is instantly problematic when we realize that editors create their own user names. If I want a shortcut to become an admin, can I simply claim that I am a female who has all along been hiding behind a masculine alias? Is Wikipedia to be open to all equally? If there is to be an affirmative action push on the English Wikipedia, what about calling for more articles on non-American topics? As a simpler and intermediate step, I would be happy if there was a broad, strong community push against people who seem to enjoy being nasty. There are some who frequently make rude comments with their edits and seem to take joy in throwing around Wikipedian insider words and abbreviations as they tell the rest of us that the content we have have edited or our format is not in conformity with some law we never knew we were violating, much less even knew that there was such a law. I hope being gentle and kind is not a quality restricted to one gender. Pete unseth (talk) 19:06, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
    It shouldn't work as a "shortcut" unless you're otherwise qualified. I believe there are other initiatives to expand coverage of non-American topics, and I don't think anyone is saying that incivility is limited to one gender (it's obviously not). Ekips39 (talk) 04:10, 21 March 2015 (UTC)
  • This is a great idea and would help to reduce the bias of sysops on a whole. If "faking" legal gender becomes a problem, an identification requirement could be imposed on admins. There are pros and cons of that, but it is a possibility. Falkirks (talk) 02:35, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Of all the ideas on here, few seem as practical and useful as this one. Raptortech97 (talk) 18:29, 23 March 2015 (UTC)
  • This idea may support female members and attract new ones. Monika Wirthgen (talk) 07:36, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
  1. Endorse, with Comments (If I am ineligible to vote, please ignore me. I am a mere minor member, not an administrator or member of this initiative.) --- 1. A college I went to hired a woman to recruit more minority students as well as more female students. She immediately began by eliminating signs of bias at the school. We in the architecture department had several instances for her to work on (one small example that I brought to her attention: on a test for the building construction class, a multiple choice answer for the definition of a batter board included "something to beat your wife with"). Having such a paid management slot might prove useful to Wikipedia. 2. For the women chosen as administrators, ideally some of them would be agreeable to having their genders known and to use their position to offer encouragement other female Wikiers and perhaps participate in some kind of outreach in order to draft more women into WP in the first place. 3. If it seems that not enough women are ready to be administrators (I find that hard to believe) or even editors, strengthen the mentorship process. Currently, it's catch is as catch can. It's not easy to search the site to find one of the mentorships and once found, not particularly easy to find a match (specialization, mentors already have enough fledglings, mentors have stopped participating, etc). Forge a real mentorship program with goals and steps to achieving them. Recognize editors who complete a successful mentorship with a special user page badge and coverage in the newsletter, Signpost. 4. And while you're at, let Wikiers KNOW about the existence of the newsletter and any others that make be lurking about that I never accidentally stumbled across. Thank you for your time, Wordreader (talk) 19:18, 24 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Yes, endorse. Lightbreather (talk) 19:21, 26 March 2015 (UTC)
  • (Later note: Affirmative action, not "positive discrimination" is the phrase you are looking for.) Even as a libertarian I endorse affirmative action proposals in private companies and non-profits like Wikimedia. (I think they should be mandatory in government!) Of course, there will need to be a confirmation process, i.e., a foundation employee should call them up or better skype them and ensure that the person they are talking to is a woman and is the person using the account. Guys with questionable voices and/or dressed as women who are not sincere transgenders and obviously are doing so just to become admins or to mock the very idea of affirmative action should be knocked off the list. Perhaps a sincere transgender can help the employee with a second interview - definitely by skype - to test the applicant's sincerity. Carolmooredc (talk) 16:03, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

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