Grants:IdeaLab/Re-analyse UNU-MERIT data relevant to gender gap

Re-analyse UNU-MERIT data relevant to gender gap
Get more useful and actionable gender gap information from an old survey.
idea creator
Skud (WMF)
this project needs...
created on22:33, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

Project idea


What is the problem you're trying to solve?


We're missing some key information about why women don't contribute to Wikipedia. We have the raw data, but could improve the analysis of it to better understand women's contributions (or lack of them).

The UNU-MERIT report was based on a 2008 survey of Wikipedians, and was published in 2010. It reported that 13% of Wikipedia editors were women, a figure that's been widely used ever since in discussions of the gender gap.

The report covers a wide range of interesting information like contributor demographics, reasons for not contributing, etc. However, only some of this information is faceted by gender, and sometimes only one gender's results are shown. For instance, we can't tell (from the report) whether women's reasons for editing are different from men's, because only women's reasons are documented.

What is your solution?


See if we can get hold of the original data, and re-analyse it to focus on more actionable information from a Gender Gap perspective.

It would be particularly interesting to break down answers to the following questions by gender and show not just women's answers, but other genders as well, and report on any differences between them:

  • Why don't you contribute to Wikipedia?
  • I would be much likelier to contribute if...

The survey also has information on partnership status and children, and it might be interesting to facet by these as well. For instance, are women with children more or less likely to contribute? Do partnered or single women have different motivations for contributing?

This information would help us better target programs to address the gender gap.


  • Find reasons for not contributing that disproportionately affect women.
  • Find encouragements to contribute that disproportionately apply to women.
  • Better understand the effect of age, partnership, and children on women's (non-)participation
  • Use this information to inform future Gender Gap projects

Get Involved



  • I would be interested in helping, but I would like to know more about the format of the original data to see if I can help. I was especially surprised to see that Ukraine was the fourth most participating country, thus I would be interested in seeing if we have some particular patterns as well (and more generally it would be interesting to see if there are some particular disproportionalities at least for the largest countries) — NickK (talk) 22:57, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
    From the format of some of the results (especially the country and language breakdown which is presented as an ASCII table), I'm guessing that they're in a relational database such as MySQL, and could be queried with SQL. They might be in some completely different system, though. --Skud (WMF) (talk) 00:34, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
    Ok, sounds reasonable, thanks — NickK (talk) 17:13, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Researcher Reanalyze and collate UNU-MERIT data Stas3098 (talk) 01:39, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • 'Researcher. Ezter and Aaron Shaw would be all over this. Ironholds (talk) 18:26, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Advisor seriously it is not user friendly. some time wiki use their terms and condition for article deletion at the same time some article and person which are also content advertising element exist in wiki. why this discrimination? guys this world is based on advertising and u think everyone putting their information for nothing, u guys know that also. then why u doing this under the table? Hasib07 (talk) 13:19, 26 March 2015 (UTC)


  • Because, this is a very sound course of action. How can we fix the gender disparity situation if we don't know the basic reasons for it. Stas3098 (talk) 00:17, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Background information about why different groups aren't editing has been missing for quite a while. This would be a first (and long overdue) step. --Frank Schulenburg (talk) 13:17, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • You can't fix what you don't understand. Langus-TxT (talk) 14:03, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I think data from today, 7 years later, would be even more valuable, because I have no doubts that the community has changed. However, this would also be useful. Origamite (talk) 17:33, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
    • Absolutely! I would love to see more recent data, for sure. But that's a separate Idea :) --Skud (WMF) (talk) 00:35, 6 March 2015 (UTC)
  • I generally endorse this. However, any proposals that arise from the examination of the data will be judged case by case. Tharthan (talk) 20:00, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Understanding the problem is a very important step in solving the problem. Hargup (talk) 19:48, 25 March 2015 (UTC)

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