According to a study that appeared on the front page of the January 31st edition of the New York Times, males in their mid-twenties account for 87% of the articles written for Wikipedia. Over 3.5 million articles in over 250 languages comprise this evolving decade-old encyclopedia, which rises to the top of almost any Google search one conducts.
Early in 2010, researchers at a joint center of the United Nations University and Maastricht University collaborated with the Wikipedia Foundation to assess the demographics of contributors to the website. Now that the profile has been released, Sue Gardner, the executive director of the foundation, has set a goal of raising the gender equity of contributors to 25% by 2015.
Several industry analysts and organizational behaviorists have tried to suggest theories to explain the gender differences. Gardner herself believes that “the traditions of the computer world and an obsessive fact-loving realm dominated by men and uncomfortable for women” has created the disparity.
Whatever the explanation, the facts speak for themselves. So the next time you consult the online encyclopedia for a quick refresher on a fact, take note of the article’s authorship. And better yet, women “know-it-alls” out there, contribute!
For the complete article, refer to The New York Times from Monday, January 31, 2011.