Nov 21, 2010

Wikipedia - Get Editing!

Picking up the video I posted a couple of days ago, Helga of the German team-blog Mädchenmannschaft wondered about Wikipedia's gender balance. Her article was entitled "Das Frauenproblem der Wikipedia", or, in English, "Wikipedia's  issues with women". Helga's findings for Germany resembled Rachel McCarthy James' findings for the UK: Wikipedia pretty much ignores women on the main page. On average, only one of about ten articles featured on Wikipedia's starting page mentions a woman. On some days, there is no word of any women at all on the front page. As Rachel put it:
To look at Wikipedia's main page on August 24, 2010, you would think that men made and did everything, and women had nothing to do with anything.
Since most authors on Wikipedia are male - according to Rachel only 13% of Wikipedians are women - this might not be very surprising. However, both Rachel and Helga argue that Wikipedia needs to a) promote more articles written by women to the main page, b) highlight new articles about women on the main page, and c) explicitly invite more female editors to participate in the project.  Writes Helga:
Are women irrelevant? Do we not know by now that, often enough, history has been made by men who simply ignored female accomplishments, or, even worse, ascribed them to men? History seems to repeat itself on Wikipedia.

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