Less than 15 percent of Wikipedia’s hundreds of thousands of unpaid contributors — responsible for over 3.5 million articles in English — are female, according to an article on the front page of today’s New York Times. The exact figure hovers somewhere around 13 percent women and the average age is, unsurprisingly, in the mid-20s, via a study last year by the United Nations University and Maastricht University. Wikipedia hopes to raise its female contributors to 25 percent by 2015, while Wikipedia’s current contributors hope to someday have a date. And to learn who Manolo Blahnik is!
What are things that women know about and could therefore write about on Wikipedia? Well, Sex and the City, duh, but the popular lady show “includes only a brief summary of every episode, sometimes two or three sentences,” while The Sopranos Wikipedia page “includes lengthy, detailed articles on each episode,” writes the Times.
Is it possible that there exists a confounding variable — for instance, Sopranos is more packed with plot and symbolism and is therefore in need of more exegesis than Sex and the City? Or perhaps articles vary in length based on the average IQ (or employment, for that matter) of its Wikipedia contributors? Honestly, who knows, but one thing is for sure: women love stereotypes that group them constantly with Sex and the City.
Also used as evidence in the Times article? Manolo Blahnik or Jimmy Choo — two fashion designers featured heavily in… Sex and the City! Both only “get but a handful of paragraphs” on Wikipedia.
“Is a category with five Mexican feminist writers impressive, or embarrassing when compared with the 45 articles on characters in The Simpsons?” the Times asks. Only boys like cartoons!
Is this schism of interest? Certainly, and it very well may reflect “the traditions of the computer world and an obsessive fact-loving realm that is dominated by men and, some say, uncomfortable for women.” But these are some sexist-leaning examples, New York Times! That said, the Wikipedia entry for “pork rinds” is probably massive.