As the world’s largest and most-used information resource, Wikipedia is home to 6.4 million articles and counting. But despite how comprehensive it seems, 90% of the site’s editors are men, and women are vastly underrepresented as subjects in the encyclopedia. The problem is particularly glaring when it comes to biographical information. Of the 1.5 million biographical articles on the site, less than 20% are about women.
A new study co-authored by Isabelle Langrock, a Ph.D. candidate at the Annenberg School for Communication, and Annenberg Associate Professor Sandra González-Bailón evaluates the work of two prominent feminist movements, finding that while these movements have been effective in adding a large volume of biographical content about women to Wikipedia, such content remains more difficult to find due to structural biases.
Langrock and González-Bailón’s study in the Journal of Communication, “The Gender Divide in Wikipedia: Quantifying and Assessing the Impact of Two Feminist Interventions,” looks at two non-profit groups with similar missions: Art+Feminism is dedicated to adding content about women and nonbinary artists to Wikipedia, while 500 Women Scientists, a nonprofit that aims to improve representation and inclusivity in STEM, creates and edits Wikipedia pages for women scientists as part of its public outreach. Both groups add and update Wikipedia content through “edit-a-thon” events held in library and museum archives, universities, and similar spaces, enabling them to gather as much information as possible from both digital and physical reference materials.
Annenberg/Penn: “Bridging Wikipedia’s Gender Gap, One Article at a Time”
Filed by February 19, 2022on