If you compare the Wikipedia entries for Sex and the City compared to The Sopranos, it doesn’t take long to realize there’s a serious gender gap when it comes to the free online encyclopedia.
The results come from the latest study commissioned by the Wikimedia Foundation. A few years ago, it was discovered that only 13% of all Wikipedia content is written by female writers.
That number has “jumped” to 15%, but that’s a slower pace than the organization would like. The Foundation has set an initiative to bring the number of women contributors to 25% by the year 2015.
“This is about wanting to ensure that the encyclopaedia is as good as it could be,” said Wikimedia Foundation executive director Sue Gardner.
“Everyone brings their crumb of information to the table. If they are not at the table, we don’t benefit from their crumb,” said Gardner in a New York Times interview.
Although all facets of technology generally see a skewed interest of men over women, Wikipedia’s gap seems almost off the charts. In recent years there have been great strides in the female user base of video games, social networking accounts, and jobs in the technology field.
However, it seems most women have better things to do with their time than write tomes on the history of Barbie dolls or the intricate character backstories of Charmed.
There needs to be stronger representation on Wikipedia, Gardner says, but it doesn’t have to be a gender war.
“Gender is a huge hot-button issue for lots of people who feel strongly about it. I am not interested in triggering those strong feelings,” she said.
She just wants Wikipedia to be all it can be, and it can only be that if the content is created with a fair representation of people.