The Gender Divide in Wikipedia: Quantifying and Assessing the Impact of Two Feminist Interventions

46 Pages Posted: 24 Jan 2021 Last revised: 8 Apr 2021

See all articles by Isabelle Langrock

Isabelle Langrock

University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg School for Communication

Sandra González-Bailón

University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg School for Communication

Date Written: November 28, 2020

Abstract

Wikipedia has a well-known gender divide affecting its biographical content. This bias not only shapes social perceptions of knowledge, but it can also propagate beyond the platform as its contents are leveraged to correct misinformation, train machine-learning tools, and enhance search engine results. What happens when feminist movements intervene to try to close existing gaps? Through a quantitative analysis of over 11,000 Wikipedia articles, we provide an evaluation of two popular feminist interventions designed to counteract digital knowledge inequality. We find that the interventions are successful at adding content about women that would otherwise be missing, but they are less successful at addressing structural biases that limit the visibility of that content. This leads us to argue for a more granular and cumulative analysis of gender gaps in collaborative environments. We also discuss the implications for future scholarship on digital inequalities.

Keywords: Digital inequality; gender gaps; information bias; peer production; online activism.

Suggested Citation

Langrock, Isabelle and González-Bailón, Sandra, The Gender Divide in Wikipedia: Quantifying and Assessing the Impact of Two Feminist Interventions (November 28, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3739176 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3739176

Isabelle Langrock

University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg School for Communication ( email )

Philadelphia, PA
United States

Sandra González-Bailón (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Annenberg School for Communication ( email )

Philadelphia, PA
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://dimenet.asc.upenn.edu/people/sgonzalezbailon/

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