Percentage of men and women on different Wikipedias

Few days ago there was an interesting article on NYTimes about the small percentage of women on Wikipedia.
Today on the gendergap mailing list at wikipedia there is a very interesting ongoing discussion. Some preliminary statistics from the discussion are:

Wikipedia in specific language Number of users who specified gender in preferences Percentage of users who specified gender in preferences How many men How many women Percentage of women
13959842 2.01% 233312 46973 16.76%
1167708 3.47% 35726 4800 11.84%
998668 2.16% 18556 3054 14.13%
78180 2.66% 1666 414 19.90%
620393 16.80% 80491 23750 22.78%
414511 3.64% 12106 2999 19.85%
368815 2.92% 8977 1781 16.56%
1464442 2.26% 27980 5070 15.34%

Interesting to note how on Russian Wikipedia, users tend to express their gender much more (16.80%!). Do you have ideas if (1) this is a cultural issue specific of Russians, (2) it depends on the practices of the specific Wikipedia in Russian or (3) it depends on the user interface, for example it might be that when you register you are redirect to an HTML page in which you can specify also your gender?
Also interesting is the fact that in this Wikipedia the percentage of women is the highest (22.78%). Probably the reason is that in a place in which gender is more represented, it is more normal for women to represent it as well. While where gender it is not represent, it is in general foolish for women to explicitly say “Hey, I’m female!” in order not to attract (additional) unwanted messages. Or put in other terms, OMG Girlz Don’t Exist on teh Intarweb!!!!1.

Img by nojhan, under Creative Commons

11 thoughts on “Percentage of men and women on different Wikipedias

  1. Amir E. Aharoni

    In the Russian Wikipedia the namespace for user page can be both ???????? in masculine and ????????? in feminine. The implementation is partial, but it’s more than nothing.

  2. paolo Post author

    Sorry for the lack of unicode, Amir! ;(

    So if I understand correctly, if a user has set male in preferences, his user page will be at something such as User_male:Example and if she has set female, her user page will be at something such as User_female:Example. Of course “User_male” should be replaced with the string in Russian (which is not visible here for my luck of unicode, sorry!).

    This surely is an incentive for expressing your gender! Interesting!

    Do you know if this happens in other Wikipedias?
    I post the question on the mailing list as well.
    Thanks for your comment?

  3. paolo Post author

    Another question:
    In Russian Wikipedia, if gender is not set, how User: is rendered? With the male equivalent or there is a neutral form?

  4. HenkvD

    I suppose the high percentage of Russian users who have declared their gender is partly caused by the large growth in the comunity. New users set their preferences, and gender is part of it. Most older users (especially english) are not even active anymore, or only update the part they want (for editing, watchlists or so.
    Would it be possible to have this table updated for only active users? That might give a much higer percentage of users who declared their gender.

  5. Kaldari

    I tried changing my gender pref on from unspecified to male and female and didn’t notice any difference. It seems to render as ????????:Kaldari under any of the 3 options.

  6. paolo Post author

    Thanks Lvova, very interesting! I’ll try to experiment with similar templates on the Italian Wikipedia.

    HenkvD, people who have an account on can generate these statistics, at the moment I don’t have one.

    Kaldari, I’m sorry I don’t know what to tell you since I don’t read Russian ;(

  7. Amir E. Aharoni

    The actual title of the page remains the same for males and females. As Lvova says, to actually make it appear feminine, one needs to use a template. You can, however, use this “namespace” in a URL – it is a synonym for the masculine namespace name.

    That’s what i meant when i wrote “partial, but more than nothing”.

  8. paolo Post author

    thanks amir, I need to play a bit with the templates to totally grok it, I think. But thanks!

  9. paolo Post author

    An email by Daniel ~ Leinad at mailing list

    Re: [Gendergap] Gender identification in Russian Wikipedia

    In my opinion it doesn’t clearly explain higher gender identification on

    Similar topic was a few days on Wikitech-l and I wrote:

    “Polish, Czech, Russian Wikipedias have alias in feminine form (source:
    – it means that also males can use female alias, for example (female alias) => (regular namespace in
    masculine form).”

    Moreover, users on Polish Wikipedia by visiting [[Special:Watchlist]]
    see a message asking them to set gender in Preferences, because it
    allows to customize the interface (using {{GENDER:}}).

    Make a note that currently gender support for interface is only partial, there are still pending or undeployed bugs (some are resolved just a few days ago, so I hope to see them in near time :-).

    Maybe Russian Wikipedia had special campaign promoting to set gender in Preferences? :D

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