Women and Wikipedia: Analysis of the Gender Gap in the Co-Production of Knowledge in the Wikipedias of Spain (W&W)” is a funded project by the Plan Nacional I+D+I of the Ministry of Science and Innovation of Spain (Ref.

Wikipedia is one of the most widely used sources of information. In spite of the fact that the motto of this encyclopedia 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.

Information and communication technologies seem to have opened up a scenario in which pluralism and new forms of expression are more possible than ever before, giving rise to an interconnected public sphere. Wikipedia is part of the public sphere and has the unique potential to facilitate a more equitable production of knowledge and the provision of virtual spaces for discussion. Wikipedia defends itself as a kind of intellectual democracy because it is ostensibly based on the principles of rational deliberation, consensus, and negotiation. Through agreed-upon rules for debates, it is said that the community of Wikipedians can reach consensus seeming to constitute an ideal
speech community.

We are proposing to study how women can effectively be capable of accessing, editing (and transforming) Wikipedia. First, there is the need to analyze the existence of gender bias in the encyclopedia in terms of participation and in the negotiation process for deciding the notability of the articles. We also need to study the barriers that women face in order to be knowledgeable in the encyclopedia and propose editing practices to overcome them. Additionally, we need to examine the strategies used by women to continue editing and the
critical points for dropping out. We will assess the capability of transforming Wikipedia, in the sense of persistence, finding spaces for change, socializing, and helping each other fight for their public presence. It is true that digital media allows commons-based peer production which introduces unprecedented elements that require consideration, both in the structure of the public sphere as well as into new forms of organization within it. The challenge is to include women as equal partners in the public sphere. As Wikipedia is the most used educational resource among students, our actions are aimed to reduce the gender gap in this platform.

This project will expand on previously examined concepts and theories, translating them into specific social actions, using a gender-based perspective. We intend to collaborate with organizations with whom we share aspirations for positive social change. In this project, we will work on reducing the gender gap in Wikipedia working with Viquidones, WikiEsfera, Amical Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation and public libraries in Barcelona (Spain) and internationally with Wikimedia Foundation and public libraries in Bogotá (Colombia).

We will study female participation in Spanish Wikipedia, the fourth largest, according to the number of registered editors, representing a wide range of different cultures in Europe as well as Latin America. Spanish language aside, Spain has four other official languages, so this research project seeks to develop a comprehensive approach that also includes Euskal Wikipedia, Viquipèdia, and Galipedia. We are interested in examining these Wikipedias not only because they belong to the same country, but because they have smaller communities,
a characteristic that appears to be related to the development of a less hostile environment for women editors.

Recap of the objectives:

This project seeks to answer the main question: how can women effectively access, edit, and transform Wikipedia.

O1. Measure the gender gap among editors in Wikipedia

1.1. Definition and construction of indicators to assess gender issues in participation

1.2. Assessment of the existing gender gap

O2. Characterize editing practices of Wikipedians

2.1. Comparison of  female and male editors’ practices

2.2. Analysis of the negotiation processes involved in articles for deletion discussions

2.3. Analysis of the sources of information that ground the notability criteria

O3. Analysis of the retention of female editors in Wikipedia

3.1. Detection of critical points for dropping out

3.2. Assessment of the impact of secure spaces for participation

3.3. UX analysis of the social interaction elements of the platform

Research questions:

Q1. Where are the women in the Wikipedias of Spain?

Q2. What are the different types of behaviours among men and women editors of the Wikipedias of Spain?

Q3. How the negotiation process of an article nominated for deletion is produced?

Q4. What are the sources of information that provide grounds for the notability criteria?

Q5. How do female Wikipedia editors persist in editing?