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Septiembre-octubre de 2021, vol. 30, núm. 5
Sexo, género, sexualidad y comunicación / Sex, gender, sexuality, & communication

The gender gap on the Spanish Wikipedia: Listening to the voices of women editors

Núria Ferran-Ferrer; Patricia Castellanos-Pineda; Julià Minguillón; Julio Meneses

This article is available in open access

Abstract: Wikipedia is one of the most widely used information sources in the world. Although one of the guiding pillars of this digital platform is ensuring access to the diversity of human knowledge from a neutral point of view, there is a clear and persistent gender bias in terms of content about or written by women. Through semi-structured interviews with current and former women editors, our research offers a closer look at the different factors that influence editing practices on the Spanish Wikipedia: the educational and social contexts that prompt women to start or stop editing; their perceptions of the treatment of gender equality in the encyclopedia; and their feelings about taking part in the creation of content in an environment where they find themselves in a minority. Self-organized events known as edit-a-thons (in Spanish, Wikiquedadas), where women meet to discuss and share editing practices, have emerged as self-inclusion strategies to enable more women to enter, remain, and be recognized in this male-dominated editing environment. Smaller Wikipedia communities are also perceived as more inclusive environments. Lack of digital competences or difficulty using the platform do not appear to be aspects that negatively influence the participation of women in the editing process, though time spent on unpaid care work does seem to be a critical factor.

Keywords: Wikipedia; Encyclopedias; Editors; Peer production; Participation; Open content; Open knowledge; Feminism; Gender bias; Digital inequality; Gender gap; Digital divide; Edit-a-thons.