Combating Gender Inequality on Wikipedia

As we celebrate the accomplishments of women through International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, it is imperative that we address gender inequalities still present in our society. Madeleine Clark Wallace Library, in coordination with the Women’s and Gender Studies program and the Women in STEM group, is hosting a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, March 26th and 27th, that aims to combat the gender imbalance encompassing all aspects of Wikipedia.

Wikipedia, a multilingual, web-based encyclopedia, is among the most visited sites on the internet with 18 billion page views a month, making it a significant source of information in our world today. Multiple studies throughout the past decade have found that women are largely underrepresented in the editing process, even though there is no significant gender difference in those that read Wikipedia. Editors create, on average, more than 500 new articles every day; if there are gender imbalances in the editing process, this will only lead to fewer and less extensive articles about women or on topics important to women. On March 11, 2019, new data was released indicating that only 17.34% of biographies on the English language Wikipedia site are about women and are often falling into such categories as artist, royalty, noble, fictional character, beauty queen, or model. Researchers also found that Wikipedia articles about women are more likely to contain words such as “women”, “female”, or “lady”, whereas articles about men are less likely to include the male equivalent, suggesting that editors see male as the default or null gender. Additionally, articles about women are more likely to discuss their family, romantic relationships, and sexuality, while articles about men are more likely to use words about cognitive processes and work. The fact is when women don’t tell our stories or participate in ways in which our history is preserved, it gets erased. Gaps in the coverage of women and topics important to women on one of the most visited websites in the world is a big problem and we need your help to fix it. Join us in building gender equity in Wikipedia!

Wikipedia Edit-a-thon

March 26th and 27th from 3pm-7pm

Woolley Electronic Classroom, Wallace Library

Register here