According to the New York Times, less than 15 percent of Wikipedia's hundreds of thousands of contributors are women. And the issue isn't simply that more entries are written by men, but the distinct lack of information on "feminine" topics: a big deal, considering Wikipedia has become a huge source of how people get their information. The Times points out how topics like baseball cards or video games get huge pages, while friendship bracelets, Sex and the City, and female writers get a scant few.
It's not particularly surprising, when considering how facts and trivia are often considered a male domain. Women, they say, are less confident about putting forth their opinions. And there is definitely a certain kind of lecture-giving, know-it-all type dude I have encountered time and time again who totally seems like the type to add to the online resource. It certainly isn't the only domain men seem to dominate on the Internet- I wonder how many of those angry, anti-feminazi/socialist state rants at the end of any article on feminism or liberals are written by ladies?
Most contributors are also in their 20's, and while the Wikipedia model is, in theory, egalitarian, one can imagine the huge groups of people whose voices are not really represented at all- it would be interesting to see the race/class/economic background of contributors. The free-for-all format of the site ultimately means it will reflect aspects of our society, many of which are disparate and clearly unequal.
Of course, there is a good solution to this one, particular problem: pick a girl-friendly topic on Wikipedia that you know a lot about, and give everyone the benefit of your expertise.
IMAGE COURTESY luckham.org (Check the site for more awesome, similar photos of ladies and 60's computers)
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