Gender Gap In Wikipedia Editing: A Cross-Language Comparison
Paolo Massa, Asta Zelenkauskaite
In book "Global Wikipedia: International and Cross-Cultural Issues in Online Collaboration" edited by Pnina Fichman and Noriko Hara
2014
Our script for getting gender of Wikipedia users is released as open source so that other researchers can replicate our analysis and also improve it. The Python script is at on Github.

Gender Gap In Wikipedia Editing: A Cross-Language Comparison

This study compared gender across 289 language editions of Wikipedia.


RQ1: What is the percentage of users who set their gender in different language editions of Wikipedia?
See Table 5.1. for a list of “Wikipedias with the Largest Percentages of Users Setting Their Gender”
Table 5.1. Wikipedias with the Largest Percentages of Users Setting Their Gender
What explains this? Differences in the interfaces, both the visibility of gender and the incentive to express it, especially during the process of the new user-profile creation.


RQ2: Among those who set their gender, what are the percentages of female and male contributors in different language editions of Wikipedia?
See Table 5.2. for a list of “Wikipedias with the Largest Percentages of Users Setting Their Gender as Female
Table 5.2. Wikipedias with the Largest Percentages of Users Setting Their Gender as Female
And see Table 5.3. for a list of “Wikipedias with the Smallest Percentages of Users Setting Their Gender as Female
Table 5.3. Wikipedias with the Smallest Percentages of Users Setting Gender in Preference Page


Q3: did you find a factor able to explain these difference in the percentages of females contributing to Wikipedia across different language editions?
The best explanatory factor we found is the “Percentage of Women among Researchers in a Country (UNESCO Report)”.
See “Table 5.4. Comparison between Percentage of Women among Researchers in a Country Based on the UNESCO Report and Percentage of Users of a Language Edition of Wikipedia That Specified Their Gender as Female”
Table 5.4. Comparison between Percentage of Women among Researchers in a Country Based on the UNESCO Report and Percentage of Users of a Language Edition of Wikipedia That Specified Their Gender as Female

.

.

Abstract:
This study compared gender across 289 language editions of Wikipedia.
First, we analyzed the extent to which expressing gender is a diffused practice in various Wikipedias. We conclude that the differences in the amount of users expressing their gender can be explained by the differences in the interfaces, both the visibility of gender and the incentive to express it, especially during the process of the new user-profile creation.
The second research question focused on the cross-Wikipedia evaluation of the gender gap. Overall results show that there is not a single sociotechnical system in which women constitute the majority, thus confirming that the gender gap is not just present in the English Wikipedia but it is diffused across all language editions of Wikipedia. However, there are notable differences: in some Wikipedias (Slovenian, Estonian, Lithuanian) the percentage of women is close to 40 percent, in others (Bengali, Hindi) it is around 4 percent, while on the English Wikipedia, the chosen baseline given its international nature reaches 17 percent. Notably, languages whose editions of Wikipedia have larger shares of women tend to be spoken in countries with a larger participation of women in science.
In conclusion, we observe that, even if Wikipedia is an online system, it reflects the real-world societies that inhabit the different language versions of it, and across languages and countries there are differences in women participation in public life. In particular, given that the context of Wikipedia is about creating knowledge, the best explanatory factor is the participation of women in knowledge-creation activities: the gender gap in different language editions of Wikipedia reflects the gender gap in science across the different countries of the real world. Future research should conduct interviews with Wikipedians to identify benefits and drawbacks of visible gender settings as well as possible techniques that would encourage more diverse populations of these sociotechnical systems.


In book “Global Wikipedia: International and Cross-Cultural Issues in Online Collaboration”