Social Question

nikipedia's avatar

Why do you think there's a gender gap in Wikipedia article editing?

Asked by nikipedia (27509points) January 31st, 2011

According to the New York Times, only 13% of contributors to Wikipedia are female. Why?

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31 Answers

J0E's avatar

Of all the set up lines in the history of set up lines, this one rules them all.

Waits for sexist joke.

marinelife's avatar

I think women are not as interested.

JLeslie's avatar

Interesting stat.

bob_'s avatar

It must be that whole hunter-gatherer thing. I’m sure Simone would agree with me ~

wundayatta's avatar

Maybe men feel more entitled than women?

Maybe men are more inclined to jump through the hoops required to be an editor than women—perhaps because they are more willing to deal with techy crap.

Maybe men are more willing to put themselves in front of an anonymous public and women fear stalking more, and are unwilling to be public and take that risk.

Maybe women just don’t have the time—having to do two jobs (work and home) while men only do work.

Maybe women don’t care or don’t feel warm and fuzzy about it.

Fyrius's avatar

The traditional answer would be that there are no girls on the internet.

glenjamin's avatar

Maybe because men are more into technology (using computers, the internet, e.t.c.). I know my wife hates using the computer (not that she alone is representative sample). I’d be curious to see the gender divide on blogging (the non-spammy type)

Dog's avatar

I never noticed. Is there any particular areas women post in more often?

On a random note I was in chat and @johnpowell says I should tell you it is because women are all out there spending money. ~ You can find him in chat and whip him~

thorninmud's avatar

There’s probably an element of dominance in it that appeals to my gender’s more primitive instincts. You’re asserting your authority, maybe correcting the errors of a lesser mortal.

AstroChuck's avatar

Because most households don’t have their computer in the kitchen.

syzygy2600's avatar

@wundayatta tone down the bitterness a bit and get over yourself. Plenty of men work two jobs. In the city I live in, single young men are twice as likely to live below the poverty line as young single women, this trend is spreading. There are also more women in post secondary education than men. But please continue to tell us how hard it is to be born with a vagina.

I think it has more to do with the differences between the interests of men and women.

nikipedia's avatar

@Dog: Tell him I don’t need to go out and spend money because men buy me all the things I want.

nikipedia's avatar

The NYT article suggests the divide is not exclusive to things involving technology:

According to the OpEd Project, an organization based in New York that monitors the gender breakdown of contributors to “public thought-leadership forums,” a participation rate of roughly 85-to-15 percent, men to women, is common — whether members of Congress, or writers on The New York Times and Washington Post Op-Ed pages.

Nullo's avatar

I’d like to see figures describing the male:female ratio for those, “But actually,” kinds of posts.

Cruiser's avatar

Guys think they are smarter and have to try and prove it. Women simply know they are smart and have more important things to do!

syzygy2600's avatar

@Cruiser LOL ok. I’ve met some very dumb women in my time, equal to if not more than dumb men, I suggest getting out more.

Fyrius's avatar

You’re making sharing your knowledge to help other people out sound like pointless vanity.

syzygy2600's avatar

@Fyrius I’m sure if women were the majority contributers, he’d be praising them for being compassionate enough to share their knowledge

nikipedia's avatar

@syzygy2600: Out of curiosity, do you genuinely believe men don’t have any advantages over women in our society?

syzygy2600's avatar

@nikipedia I believe the biggest factor in determining who has the advantage in society comes down to money. Not race, not gender, not sexual orientation. It’s wealth. And if you don’t believe that, my contention is that you’ve never been poor.

Now, let’s look at who has the most weath in society. It is white men. However, these white men make up what…maybe 5% of the population? Doesn’t really have any benefit for the rest of us, does it?

To answer your question directly, yes. A man for example, whether he is poor or rich, will be taken more seriously by people (often times other men) in positions of authority. However if a war breaks out, that same mans life (unless he is rich) is treated as far more expendable than a rich man’s or a woman of any status.

There are positives and negatives for both sides. Among the middle and poor class, I think in 2011 we’re pretty equal. Rich white men may have a far greater advantage than any of us. However they do not represent the thousands of men such as myself who grew up on welfare, in government housing, and in short, have had to struggle and fight for everything they’ve had. Just like a woman. Unless she’s born rich, in which case she has a far greater advantage. And as I pointed out in an earlier post, in Toronto single young men are more likely to be poor than single young women, meaning in this city, they have an advantage.

nikipedia's avatar

@syzygy2600: But even if you’re right that money is a bigger factor, that doesn’t influence whether or not sex is a factor.

There has not been a war on American soil that I’m aware of for about 150 years. We have not had any wars involving a draft in my lifetime. Yet every second of every day I have been alive, men continue to enjoy the privileges that you referenced.

I do not think I, or other overeducated white girls like me, are immune to privilege. I see every day the benefits that I get from being born with certain attributes. And I think it’s important for men, especially white men, to have the same sensitivity and awareness. I do not think that is asking too much.

And for what it’s worth, I have been poor. Very poor.

TexasDude's avatar

Men are more likely to be nerds than women.

syzygy2600's avatar

@nikipedia My comment about war was not meant to be U.S. centric.

I don’t think it’s too much to ask to be treated as an individual who may have had his own stuggles, rather than simply “the white man, aka one who has everything” which is the label given to me by liberal types.

I’m a highschool dropout, cause by both my own lack of motivation for which I accept full responsability. However I think I would have been more likely to obtain that diploma if even once someone would have made efforts to encourage me. But all the efforts went toward making sure that minorities and women “the vunerable ones” obtained their diplomas. I’m not saying they shouldn’t have been encouraged, but it would have been nice if some of that encouragment had been spread around.

I am very aware that I enjoy certain privleges. Hell, anyone who lives in a free country enjoys a privlege. There are different privleges all around us. What I’m saying is that having a penis is not the be all and end all.

syzygy2600's avatar

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard That’s true and a good point as well.

JLeslie's avatar

Interesting answers so far. I think men are more likely to be in jobs that use computers. Nurses, retail, hair dresser, flight attendant, and more don’t use computers much, they are more in front of their customers. But, anyone under the age of 35 pretty much grew up with computers. However, it is people over 35 who are more likely to be in certain professions according to old gender stereotypes.

I think men have more time generally, as @wundayatta said. Of course there are men who work morning noon and night, hold more than one job, or work long ours even just having one job, but on average I think women have their time more occupied. If they work full time and have kids, they likely spend more time dealing with stuff for the kids. Even if they have no kids they spend more time in the beauty salon, or even just getting read in the morning. They also have more requirments typically on the social realm to feel good. Studies show women need to talk much more than man, so they spend more time talking to friends, rather than researching and writing so ething like a document on wikipedia maybe. All generalizations and conjecture of course.

Cruiser's avatar

@syzygy2600 You are not the only one to tell me this! Working on it as we speak!

@Fyrius Your words not mine!! ;)) I have a problem with Wiki and IMO is as reliable as my hair spray.

YARNLADY's avatar

Hmm, I wonder why? I am one of the 13%, so I guess I can answer this one.

tranquilsea's avatar

@syzygy2600 “I’ve met some very dumb women in my time, equal to if not more than dumb men”

I’ve seen bell curves showing that women tend to be of an average IQ. We have some at the low end and some at the highest end. In comparison, men have fewer average IQs than women and they tend to have more IQs at the higher end (compared to women) and more at the lowest end (compared to women).

I too have known some pretty spacey women but I’ve also known many more not very smart men.

You have to understand too that women are encouraged, subtly, to be a pretty face and not necessarily a smart mind.

syzygy2600's avatar

@tranquilsea I wouldn’t disagree with that. I’ve met some very intelligent women. I’ve also met some who are, frankly, as dumb as a box of rocks. I’ve met men in both categories as well.

Nullo's avatar

This reminds me of a point of minor friction that’s cropped up a few times growing up – you may have noticed similar. Mom would talk about problems at work, or in a group, or complications of some other variety, and Dad would, natural as breathing, listen, analyze the problem, and provide a solution. But Mom hadn’t been asking for a solution, she was just venting. So she wouldn’t really appreciate it, and Dad would be irritable for a while and be more inclined to command me to commit such atrocities as cleaning my room.

So yeah. It’s my guess that guys give problem-solving a higher priority than do women. And what problem is more obvious than the ignorance of Man?

mattbrowne's avatar

Perhaps the same reason that on average more men like to display trophies and insignia (importance of status and pecking orders).

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