The Daily Beats asks: How egalitarian is this? According to a recently published study, only about 13 percent of those who edit or write articles for Wikipedia are women—the average Wikipedia contributor is a male in his mid-20s.
Actually, Daily Beast, Wikipedia is entirely egalitarian.
Anyone is allowed to write or edit for the online encyclopedia. Even I have edited articles in the past. Simply because the predominant contributors of Wikipedia are twenty-something men does not make it any less egalitarian than watching the National Football League or reading Maxim magazine.
Some things just appeal more to men than to women.
And while it might be slightly more palatable to ignore football and Maxim and less so when it comes to the world’s largest and most utilized storehouse of human knowledge, the fact remains that women have simply failed to show an interest in it.
And not because of a lack of equality.
The Daily Beast goes on to mention:
Sue Gardner, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that runs Wikipedia, has declared it her goal to raise that number to 25 percent by 2015. The move to include more women isn't about feminism or equality, she says, but an effort to make the encyclopedia as good as it can be.”
I was pleased to hear that Gardner’s goal to increase female participation in Wikipedia has nothing to do with a feminist agenda since no woman is being denied the opportunity to participate in the online encyclopedia. Since the encyclopedia's business is conducted entirely online, the sex of a Wikipedia editor does not play a role in a woman’s willingness to participate.
Women are not being asked to walk into a boys’ club and demand to be heard. They simply need to login and press keys on a computer.
This is not a failure of opportunity. This is a lack of interest or desire.
And honestly, are we surprised? I have known a hell of a lot of twenty-something men who would be excited to spend hours in front of a computer screen, writing and fact checking articles about wombats and the Crimean War.
I cannot think of a single woman who would be willing to do the same.
Like it or not, nerds and geeks of this particular ilk are predominately male.
Still, Gardner’s goals are noble. A more balanced view of the world’s information would be good.
But if women have demonstrated a disinterest in the writing and editing of Wikipedia during its first ten years of existence, I am intrigued as to what Gardner has planned in order to change this.
Does she plan on tapping into the vast hordes of female geeks out there, just waiting for the opportunity to sit in front of their computers for hours at a time, fact-checking articles on ancient Babylonia and the reproductive cycle of the horseshoe crab?
If so, I hold out little hope for the future female participation in this noble endeavor.