Is There a Female Gender Bias in Wikipedia?

Computer science researchers found that only 16 percent of the editors who joined Wikipedia in 2009 were female and only 9 percent of the edits came from female editors during that year. Women apparently also have a tendency to leave Wikipedia again when their edits are reverted.

The researchers also claim that a gender bias within Wikipedia has an impact on the quality of the content published at the online encyclopedia as articles that appeal to women are generally shorter and less detailed. Descriptions of movies that are more likely to attract women have a lower quality level than descriptions of movies that may be seen primarily by males. "Overall, Wikipedia seems to be growing in a way that is biased toward topics of interest to males," the researchers concluded.

So, what could be the problem? The findings suggest that Wikipedia has a "culture that may be resistant to female participation." Articles edited by females are twice as likely to be about controversial or contentious topics; female editors are significantly more likely to have their early contributions undone by their fellow editors; and females are more likely to be indefinitely blocked by fellow editors, the researchers said.

“We expected to find that females would avoid conflict, but to our surprise we found just the opposite,” John Riedl, a professor in the University of Minnesota’s Department of Computer Science and Engineering and a member of the research team, said. “We’re not sure exactly what this means, but it may give us more insights into the Wikipedia culture that could be one of the contributing factors to the gender gap.”

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  • there can only be so many articles about kitchens and sandwich-making on wiki
  • It could be that the majority of females do not classify editing Wikipedia as fun or enjoyable - that would be the simplest explanation.

    It could also be that because anything that is a male dominated area, most males act differently than if they were in a 50/50 group. Am i wrong? Do you you guys act differently if you think that there are no girls around that can see or hear you?

    If any girl shows interest in a male orientated subject she will have to deal with the stereotype of females not being able to contribute anything worth while to the subject.

    Also girls have *feelings* and tend to take things personally.
    - This is also based on my own experience,
  • It couldnt possibly be a lack of intellect
  • Other Comments
  • It couldnt possibly be a lack of intellect
  • there can only be so many articles about kitchens and sandwich-making on wiki
  • Oh god...

    Do we need a support group too?