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"Wikipedia is pushing the boundaries of scholarly practice but the gender gap must be addressed
" is a 2013 blog post by Adrianne Wadewitz
Wadewitz was a feminist scholar of 18th-century British literature. She contributed to Wikipedia and commented upon it, particularly with regard to the “gender gap,” i.e., the disproportionate predominance of men among editors. This post appeared in the LSE Impact of Social Sciences blog.
Wikipedia is the largest reference work the world has ever created. It is the sixth-largest website in the world. It is the most visited reference work on the internet. It is available in over 285 languages. If you want to affect how the world understands a particular topic, you must edit Wikipedia.
As academics, we already possess many of the skills necessary to be excellent writers of encyclopedia entries: specialized knowledge and finely-honed research and writing abilities. It is incumbent upon us to share our knowledge with the world, where it will be read not only by our fellow academics but by anyone curious about our topics.
The gender gap: every edit is political
Wikipedia bills itself as “the free encyclopedia and anyone can edit” – but not everyone does. Approximately 90% of Wikipedia’s editors are male. For Wikipedia, this has resulted in problems of bias, overrepresentation/underrepresentation of topics, and an environment hostile towards female editors. A lack of diversity amongst editors means that, for example, topics typically associated with femininity are underrepresented and often actively deleted.
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