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Wikipedia's 'huge' gender gap: By the numbers
Less than 15 percent of the online encyclopedia's contributors are women — a statistic with some fascinating ramifications
Men, mostly in their mid-20s, make up more than 85 percent of Wikipedia's contributors.
Men, mostly in their mid-20s, make up more than 85 percent of Wikipedia's contributors.
Corbis
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t may have millions of articles in hundreds of languages, but only a small portion of Wikipedia's contributors are women, reports The New York Times. How does the "huge" wiki-gender-gap play out? Here's a brief guide, by the numbers:

10
Number of years Wikipedia, which celebrated its anniversary on January 15, has been in existence. "Although it has suffered its share of inaccuracies and hoaxes, it remains among the Internet’s most visited sites — bigger than eBay," says Verne G. Kopytoff in The New York Times.

More than 3.5 million
Number of Wikipedia articles in English

More than 250
Languages in which Wikipedia is available

"Barely" 13 percent
Share of Wikipedia's hundreds of thousands of contributors who are women, according to a joint study by the United Nations University and Maastricht University. "With so many subjects represented — most everything has an article on Wikipedia — the gender disparity often shows up in terms of emphasis," says Noam Cohen in The New York Times. "A topic generally restricted to teenage girls, like friendship bracelets, can seem short at four paragraphs when compared with lengthy articles on something boys might favor, like, toy soldiers or baseball cards, whose voluminous entry includes a detailed chronological history of the subject."

Mid-20s
Average age of a Wikipedia contributor, according to the joint study by the United Nations University and Maastricht University

42 percent
Share of all American adults who use Wikipedia to look up information, as of May 2010, according to a Pew survey

25 percent
Share of all American adults who used it as of February 2007

80-90 percent
Number of "contributors to key opinion forums" who are male, according to The OpEd Project, an initiative committed to expanding the number of female experts in the media. "In short, public debate all but excludes half the population," reads the organization's website. "It's not just Wikipedia," says Anna North at Jezebel. "Social news sites like Digg, Reddit, and Slashdot remain majority male, with Slashdot clocking in at 82 percent dudes. Some of these spaces are actively hostile to women (we're looking at you, Digg)."

84 percent
Representation of males among Sunday-morning-talk-show pundits, according to The OpEd Project

83 percent
Representation of males among members of Congress, according to The OpEd Project

25 percent
Share of female contributors the Wikipedia Foundation hopes to reach by 2015, through "subtle persuasion and outreach" rather than quotas. That goal might be hard to achieve, says Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry in Business Insider. "The community of Wikipedia contributors is famously independent-minded and might rebel at affirmative action-like initiatives to bring in more female contributors."

Sources: New York Times (2), Jezebel, OpEd Project, Mother Jones, Business Insider

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