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Wikipedia: Editing and Contributing

Learn the basics about editing and contributing to Wikipedia.

Gender Gap on Wikipedia

"Gender bias on Wikipedia, also known as the Wikipedia gender gap, refers to the fact that Wikipedia contributors are mostly male, that relatively few biographies on Wikipedia are about women, and that topics of interest to women are less well-covered.

In a 2018 survey covering 12 language versions of Wikipedia and some other Wikimedia Foundation projects, 90% of contributors reported their gender as male, 8.8% as female, and 1% as other. Among contributors to the English Wikipedia, 13.6% identified as female and 1.7% as other. Other studies since 2011, mostly focused on the English Wikipedia, have estimated the percentage of female editors at up to 20%.

Wikipedia's articles about women are less likely to be included, expanded, neutral, and detailed. A 2021 study found that, in April 2017, 41% of biographies nominated for deletion were women despite only 17% of published biographies being women.  The visibility and reachability of women on Wikipedia is limited, with a 2015 report finding that female pages generally 'tend to be more linked to men'. Language that is considered sexist, loaded, or otherwise gendered has been identified in articles about women. Gender bias features among the most frequent criticisms of Wikipedia, sometimes as part of a more general criticism about systemic bias in Wikipedia.

In 2015, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales announced that the encyclopedia had failed to reach its goal to retain 25% female editorship. Programs like edit-a-thons and Women in Red have been developed to encourage female editors and increase the coverage of women's topics. A study in 2020 found that progress has been made: The study investigated contributions from "central" versus "peripheral contributors" and found that a balance between the two types of contributors results in the creation of content with the most neutral point of view."

--Information from Wikipedia

Racial Bias on Wikipedia

"The English Wikipedia has been criticized for having a systemic racial bias in its coverage. This stems in part from an under-representation of people of color within its editor base. In "Can History Be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past", it is noted that article completeness and coverage is dependent on the interests of Wikipedians, not necessarily on the subject matter itself. The past president of Wikimedia D.C., James Hare, asserted that "a lot of black history is left out" of Wikipedia, due to articles predominately being written by white editors. Articles that do exist on African topics are, according to some, largely edited by editors from Europe and North America and thus reflect only their knowledge and consumption of media, which "tend to perpetuate a negative image" of Africa. Maira Liriano of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, has argued that the lack of information regarding black history on Wikipedia "makes it seem like it's not important."

Different theories have been provided to explain these racial discrepancies. Jay Cassano, writing for Fast Company magazine, argued that Wikipedia's small proportion of black editors is a result of the small black presence within the technology sector, and a relative lack of reliable access to the Internet. Katherine Maher, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, has argued that the specific focuses in Wikipedia's content are representative of those of society as a whole. She said that Wikipedia could only represent that which was referenced in secondary sources, which historically have been favorable towards and focused on white men. "Studies have shown that content on Wikipedia suffers from the bias of its editors – [who are] mainly technically inclined, English-speaking, white-collar men living in majority-Christian, developed countries in the Northern hemisphere".

In addition to the racial bias on Wikipedia, public encyclopedias are generally vulnerable to vandalism by hate groups like white nationalists."

--Information from Wikipedia

Beginner Training - The Gender Gap