Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Consider the Source: Wikipedia Still Unable to Attract Female Contributors
Writing on a Wall Street Journal blog, Riva Gold outlines the persistent problem Wikipedia has in balancing the gender of its contributors. Fully 87% of its contributors are male, Gold reports. Further, it has acquired the reputation of being "deletionist" in its treatment of entries about women (as well as segregating entries about distinguished women in gender-based categories, i.e., "American Women Writers" instead of "American Writers"). Gold describes a sexist environment at Wikipedia HQ where women are very much in the minority and don't have long tenures at the organization. She also notes that Wikipedia, aware of the gender imbalance among contributors, has made efforts to recruit women as contributors. Given Wikipedia's popularity as an information source, this is a serious situation that doesn't look as if it will improve anytime soon.