Friday, February 4, 2011

Gender and Wikipedia

It is not a great shock to me, but I read with some dismay a story in Inside Higher Education about the involvement of women in Wikipedia. It appears, according to a story in the New York Times, that women contribute only about 15% of Wikipedia's content. That is a sad reminder of the continuing gender divide in the online world, and it has some deeper points to ponder as well.

As the number of people who turn to Wikipedia as a starting point to find out about a given topic increases, such a gender disparity in the contributors takes on a somewhat greater impact. The NYT article makes some very good points and asks some good questions about why the disparity is so large and why women may be more hesitant to become editors in the wiki environment (or at least THAT wiki environment).

All in all, a very interesting read. I recommend it to your attention. I would also suggest that this site that discusses the relative disparity of women in op-ed contributions to major print and online publications/sites.