It’s a Man’s Wikipedia? Assessing Gender Inequality in an Online Encyclopedia

Claudia Wagner, David García, Mohsen Jadidi, Markus Strohmaier

Proceedings of the 9th International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (2015)

Ratios of informative terms for pages of men and women on Wikipedia

Ratios of most informative words for pages of men and women on Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a community-created encyclopedia that contains information about notable people from different countries, epochs and disciplines and aims to document the world’s knowledge from a neutral point of view. However, the narrow diversity of the Wikipedia editor community has the potential to introduce systemic biases such as gender biases into the content of Wikipedia. In this paper we aim to tackle a sub problem of this larger challenge by presenting and applying a computational method for assessing gender bias on Wikipedia along multiple dimensions. We find that while women on Wikipedia are covered and featured well in many Wikipedia language editions, the way women are portrayed starkly differs from the way men are portrayed. We hope our work contributes to increasing awareness about gender biases online, and in particular to raising attention to the different levels in which gender biases can manifest themselves on the web.

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