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The Swedish Wikipedia Gender Gap
KTH, School of Computer Science and Communication (CSC), Media Technology and Interaction Design, MID.
2015 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The proportion of women editors on the English language Wikipedia has for years been known to be very low. The purpose of this thesis is to see if this gender gap exists on the Swedish language Wikipedia as well, and investigate the reasons behind it.

To do this, three methods are used. Firstly a literature review is conducted, looking at women in computing and how Wikipedia works and how it was founded. Secondly, user behavior and activity-levels are measured through means of a database analysis of editors and edits. And thirdly, a survey is distributed, aimed at both readers and editors of Swedish Wikipedia, gathering some 2700 respondents.

The results indicate that there is indeed a big disproportion, and that only between 13-19% of editors are women. The findings did not indicate readers of the encyclopedia having any strong negative preconceptions about Wikipedia or its community. However when looking at reasons for not contributing, women were significantly more likely to perceive themselves as not competent enough to edit. Computer skills were found to be an important factor for trying out editing in the first place, and Wikipedia’s connection to a male-dominated computing/programming culture is put forth as a reason for the resilience of the gender gap. The difference in men’s and women’s communication styles in relation to the climate Wikipedia’s policies and guidelines is also discussed.

Abstract [sv]

Andelen kvinnor som redigerar engelskspråkiga Wikipedia har visats vara väldigt låg. Syftet med detta arbetet är att undersöka om andelen ser likadan ut på den Svenskspråkiga siten också, samt undersöka de bakomliggande orsakerna.

För att göra detta används tre metoder. Först görs en literaturstudie som behandlar kvinnor inom programmering och hur Wikipedia fungerar och dess grundande. Därefter mäts användarbeteende och aktivitetsnivåer genom en databasanalys på redigerare och redigeringar. slutligen distribuerades en webb-enkät riktad till både läsare och redigerare av svenskspråkiga Wikipedia, med runt 2700 svaranden.

Resultaten visar att det finns en stor snedfördelning och att endast mellan 13-19% av redigerare är kvinnor. Resultaten påvisar inte några särskilda negativa uppfattningar hos läsare om Wikipedia eller dess gemenskap. Däremot uppgav kvinnor i signifikant högre utsträckning att en viktig anledning till att de inte bidrog till encyklopedin var att de inte upplevde sig tillräckligt kompetenta. Datorvana fanns vara en viktig faktor till att testa på att redigera första gången, och Wikipedias koppling till en mans-dominerad programmeringskultur diskuteras som en faktor till den låga andelen kvinnor. Wikipedias policies och riktlinjer och dess sammankoppling med skillnader i män och kvinnors kommunikationsstilar på internet diskuteras även.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015.
Keyword [en]
Wikipedia, Wikmedia, gender, gender gap, equality, wikipedia equality, women, editors, wikipedia editors, Swedish Wikipedia, gender disproportion, computer skills, gender bias, gender bias on wikipedia, men, encyclopedia, distribution, gender distributon, systemic bias, Wikimedia Foundation, female editorship, female, female editors
National Category
Media Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-177493OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-177493DiVA: diva2:873039
External cooperation
Wikimedia Sverige
Subject / course
Media Technology
Educational program
Master of Science - Media Management
Presentation
2015-06-08, E-huset, 1625, Osquars backe 2, Stockholm, 22:21 (English)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2015-12-16 Created: 2015-11-22 Last updated: 2015-12-16Bibliographically approved

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