User:MCruz (WMF)/Sandbox/Gender Gap

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What is the issue

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The gender gap in Wikipedia first came to light after the release of the editor survey of 2011. The study showed that only 8.5% of editors are women. Suggested causes for this gap are many, and still under debate: differences in how leisure is experienced between men and women, the relationship each gender may have with technology, and women’s aversion to conflict and a disinterest in participating in lengthy edit wars. The effect of this gap, however, is very clear: the lack of female editors allows for a systemic bias. Content is skewed, as women are also under represented on Wikipedia pages. Many articles on notable women in history, art and science are absent on Wikipedia. As Wikipedia becomes an increasingly important repository of shared knowledge, this gap, in all its symptoms, is alarming.
The basis of Wikimedia projects is to create "free content that anyone can edit, use, modify, and distribute." Diversity directly connects to Wikimedia movement values of freedom, accessibility, equality, independence, openness, transparency, and community.

Having all sorts of contributors and content is necessary to achieve our shared vision: that anyone can contribute in the sum of all knowledge. Where we are missing important voices, we may also be missing important context and information.


By working to bridge the gender gap, we will be better able to reflect the full diversity of human knowledge, and to represent in a fair way. Each person, as part of the human crowd, should be represented in developing humanity's shared source of free knowledge.


Assumptions Edit

Wikipedia in Higher Education Summit portrait 2, 2011-07-09.jpg

Studies so far have been assertive in pointing out the gender gap issue, although not, however, its causes. Several editors and activists concerned with the gender gap have offered a few reasons, but there is no shared sense for this yet.Some proposals and actions have been put forward assuming the change in certain factors (e.g., that more women on Wikipedia would increase the content ‘’about’’ women on Wikipedia) would help close this gap. Following Adrienne Wadewitz thoughts [1]. , we want to point out the assumptions about the gender, to help shed some light on the matter. We have picked 4 of the 5 assumptions Wadewitz describes on her blog, to focus on the most common ideas heard over the movement.

It is the responsibility of women to fix sexism on WikipediaEdit

Sexism is not a problem that affects only women, hence, it is not only up to women to fix it. It is a matter that affects the entire community.

Women do not further patriarchal knowledge and power structuresEdit

More importantly than recruiting women, Wikipedia needs to recruit feminists - those who have thought about the problem of sexism and have strategies to deal with them. Feminists can be of any gender.

Women will edit underrepresented topicsEdit

Assuming that women will edit underrepresented topics is, in a way, reinforcing gender stereotypes. The task of expanding these topics has to be addressed by reaching out to the communities who can edit about those topics - communities formed both by men and women.

Women will make a nicer place out of WikipediaEdit

This assumption is also about gender stereotype: the idea of women as peaceful harmless creatures and civilizing force. In order for the community to be more civilized, civil behavior should be expected of every member of that community, not just women.

What has been done to bridge the gapEdit

Participants of Gender Gap Strategic Day.jpeg

Since there is not one single cause to the gender gap (a matter that still needs to be researched more deeply), a solution cannot be approached unilaterally. As Adrianne Wadewitz puts it: “When one group is mistreated, systematically denied a voice or rights, that reflects poorly on the entire community and lessens the legitimacy of that community.”[2]. The gender gap is a problem of Wikimedia communities at large, so collective action is needed. We need projects that focus on community organizing, outreach, partnerships, and technology.
See the list of all initiatives

Get involved!Edit

Initiatives to work on the gender gap are on almost all year round. These are a few of the on going activities where you can contribute.

  • Participate in WikiWomen’s History Month
  • Read about events on the blog: https://blog.wikimedia.org/c/community/wikiwomen/
  • Join the Inspire Campaign - Share your skills and ideas for new projects to address the gender gap. Funding is available from the Wikimedia Foundation for research, events, partnerships and experiments aimed at addressing the gap.
  • List your initiative here


Are you from the press or media?Edit

Are you writing a story about the gender gap or gender issues on Wikipedia and sister projects? Contact press(at)wikimedia(dot)org to connect with community members who are subject matter specialists.

References Edit