Wikipedia is dominated by male editors

September 11, 2012  |  Statistical Visualization

Wikipedia Gender

After he saw a New York Times article on the gender gap among Wikipedia contributors (The contributor base is only 13 percent women), Santiago Ortiz plotted articles by number of men versus number of women who edited. It's interactive, so you can mouse over dots to see what article each represents, and you can zoom in for closer look in the bottom left.

At first glance, the difference doesn't look that big, but notice the values of the axes. The axis for men on the horizontal is from 0 to 200, the axis for women is 0 to 20, and the equal ratio line is the purple one that's nearly vertical. So the only article with more women contributors is on cloth menstrual pads.

See also: what the chart looks like with equally-spaced increments. The results are clear.

7 Comments

  • I’m curious at the quality of the edits too.. e.g. if men get into ‘change wars’ more often or something (seems a little like a stereotype, but I can totally see it happening)

  • I’m curious to see a similar thing for yelp reviews. seems to be majority women.

  • Isn’t it nice that men are taking an interest in women and their issues?

  • I just checked the api, and while it doesn’t include anonymous edits, those are obviously an issue. I’m sure the profile defaults to male, and people don’t always check

  • What’s the point in publishing this information? Is this gender discrimination.

  • This is totally fascinating to me – certainly both men and women use Wikipedia, why is it the vast majority of editors are men? Is this imbalance reflected to some degree in general usage? Or donation?

    Why do men feel so inclined and women do not?

    • Why? Well, why is it the vast majority of programmers or coders men? And therein you have part of the answer to your question! Go to any page and click ‘edit’ – it is a hugely discouraging feeling, if you don’t know how to program or if you’re not previously familiar with mark-up text (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Help:Editing).

      Wiki markup is great, but it not accessible to most users. And the current support with regards to text editors is not much better (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_editor_support). In my opinion it is a huge loss for wikipedia and its community, since i think that there are many people out there (perhaps especially women), who would like to contribute but can’t.

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