Sexism and Wikipedia

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Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as [...] sex [...]

Define Gender Gap? Look Up Wikipedia’s Contributor List

Michelangelo's David

Women on Wikipedia

  • Kat Walsh 07:17, 31 January 2011
    • "[...] the focus should be on becoming more open and diverse in general--becoming more inclusive to everyone, which will naturally bring in more women. (I don't think of the "Wikipedia community" as a monolith--it's more like hundreds of different communities some of which overlap with each other just enough. I cringe whenever I hear "Wikipedia doesn't think this is notable" or "Wikipedia decided to change" for a decision that was probably made by four or five people which no one else even knew about; unless it's really one of the rare occasions where some big decision is made and there is a huge effort to inform everyone, most everything is only seen by a very small group of people.) [...] Being more inclusive means having access to the knowledge and skills of people whose input is not already widely available, and to share it with people who weren't aware of it before. And we, unlike many sources using a more traditional model, do have the capability to do that; we're not fulfilling our mission if we don't."

Where are the women in Wikipedia?

  • New York Times, February 2, 2011
    • A difference of communication styles Susan C. Herring February 4, 2011, 03:07 PM
      • "Wikipedia [...] is a site where discourse is not infrequently contentious. On ‘talk’ pages, where the process of article creation is hashed out, one’s contributions are often challenged, and some contributors, anonymous and otherwise, use rude and haranguing language. Such environments are — if not outright intimidating — unappealing to many women."
    • 'Open' doesn't include everyone Joseph M. Reagle February 4, 2011, 03:07 PM
      • "[...] the openness of such communities means that a minority of high-conflict members (including, for example, a misogynist or an Internet troll) can have a disproportionate effect on the tone and dynamics of the community."
    • Editing wars behind the scenes Justine Cassell February 4, 2011, 03:07 PM
      • "[...] this gender imbalance raises the possibility that “citizen-generated media” are not actually generated by all citizens, and that the democracy that Wikipedia aspires to may in fact ignore the voices of 50 percent of the population. This is indeed something to worry about."
    • Trolls and other nuisances Terri Oda February 4, 2011, 03:07 PM
      • "Unfortunately, many discussion sites suffer from the tyranny of trolls who actively hinder women’s participation by trying to derail discussions, make contributions significantly more time-consuming, or send inappropriate or even violent private messages to contributors. I have no idea why they do this, but it seems to happen to many online communities so I presume there’s some subset of folk who think it's fun to drive away contributors."
    • The antisocial factor Anna North February 4, 2011, 03:07 PM
      • "One solution to this would be to make Wikipedia a more social place, but I’d also like to see both intellectualism and introversion become more acceptable for women too. Female nerd culture has made big strides in the last decade, and women have infiltrated many once-male online domains – but we still have a ways to go, and making Wikipedia more equal would be a big step in the right direction."
    • More about power than gender Jessamyn West February 4, 2011, 03:07 PM
      • "If altering the gender balance matters, then we have to not just promote this idea, but be prepared to enforce social norms of equity and diversity -- not just wait for a beautiful future where balance somehow exists -- and we have to learn to deal gracefully with the backlash. It is a discussion more about power than gender."
    • Hearing Women's Voices Jane Margolis February 4, 2011, 12:56 PM
      • "[...] why do these low numbers even matter? I believe the answer is two-fold: It matters for the individuals who want to participate, but are made to feel unwelcomed along the way. And, it matters for the larger society that needs women’s full participation."

Wikipedia biographies favor men

  • Gregory Kohs January 12th, 2011 11:28 pm ET
    • "Approximately 81% of the Wikipedia articles about living people are about males."

Human rights

On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [...]. Following this historic act the Assembly called upon all Member countries to publicize the text of the Declaration and "to cause it to be disseminated, displayed, read and expounded principally in schools and other educational institutions, without distinction based on the political status of countries or territories."[1]


Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,

[...] the advent of a world in which human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear and want has been proclaimed as the highest aspiration of the common people,

Whereas it is essential, if man is not to be compelled to have recourse, as a last resort, to rebellion against tyranny and oppression, that human rights should be protected by the rule of law,


Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,


Whereas a common understanding of these rights and freedoms is of the greatest importance for the full realization of this pledge,

Now, Therefore THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY proclaims THIS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS as a common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, keeping this Declaration constantly in mind, shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance [...]

Article 1. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.

Article 2. Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as [...] sex [...]

Article 28. Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.

Article 29. (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and full development of his personality is possible. (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public order and the general welfare in a democratic society. (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.

Article 30. Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any [...] group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set forth herein.

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