Submissions:2014/The Gender Gap

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Title of the submission
Type of submission
Author of the submission
Susan J. Hewitt
E-mail address
US state or country of origin
NY (originally from the UK)
American Museum of Natural History
Personal homepage

The Gender gap is a well-recognized phenomenon on Wikipedia -- a phenomenon that has been discussed in the press extensively. I am a rare exception to the "rule" that almost all our editors are young and male. I am very aware of the fact that the severe lack of female editors means that a pervasive male-centered bias runs not only through the community, but also through the encyclopedia content itself. Some of the bias is subtle, some is rather more obvious. All of it is unfortunate.

One example on the English Language WIkipedia is the article Menopause, which is really quite a popular article, being consulted by over 2000 people a day. It is also quite an important article, as it is relevant to every woman in existence, and, at least in the USA, this is a topic that carries a taboo, and therefore people are generally quite under-informed about it. This article was actually one thing that made me join Wikipedia -- the article was really in such horrible shape that I could not bear to look at it anymore and decided to join up so I could try to fix it a little!

The article is much better now than it was, but it certainly could benefit from a lot more improvements. I am not convinced it deserves the B rating it currently has. Most of the work that has been done on that article over the last 7 years, by default, is work I have done myself, with some significant help from User:Doc James. I not not usually work on women's health issues, but in this case I felt I had to because no-one else was doing it. I wish more people were around to help with this article because it is not much fun working on Wikipedia when almost no collaboration is involved.

Of course, Menopause is only one of numerous articles which are more often consulted by women than by men, and which are noticeably underdeveloped as a result of lack of female editors to work on them.

We all need to work together to attract more women to edit WIkipedia, and we all need to be conscious of the male-bias in style of interacting, in style of interpretation and in choice of article creation. We need to try to overcome this and all other biases which currently prevent Wikipedia from being a truly global encyclopedia.

Length of presentation/talk

Maybe 15 minutes or more on a panel?

Will you attend WikiConference USA if your submission is not accepted?


Slides or further information (optional)

Not necessary

Special request as to time of presentations

Basically I am flexible, but would prefer it not to be an early morning time slot

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  1. Rhododendrites (talk) --09:49, 10 April 2014 (EDT)
  2. Fhocutt (talk) 19:03, 11 April 2014 (EDT)
  3. AWang (WMF) (talk) 12:29, 21 May 2014 (EDT)
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  5. Mozucat (talk) 12:21, 30 May 2014 (EDT)
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