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Editor Survey 2011/Women Editors

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Wikimedia aims to increase diversity within its editing community by growing the percentage of female editors to 25%. But our editors continue to be predominantly male (91%). Male editors also edit more than female editors with far more total lifetime edits compared to female editors. But our common perception of female editors facing a hostile environment in Wikipedia was not found to be true. The survey data showed that the majority of female editors are not harassed and do not believe that Wikipedia is highly sexualized.

3.1 Wikipedia editors are predominantly male[edit]

Increasing diversity in our editor base is one of our strategic goals, but Wikipedia editors continue to be predominantly male. Among those surveyed, an overwhelming majority of Wikipedia editors identified themselves as male (91%, with females at around 9%). Fewer than 1% of editors self-identified as transsexual or transgender.

D10. Gender distribution (n=4,930)

3.2 Women editors are growing in number[edit]

While the small number of women editors active on Wikipedia is a concern, the good news is that their numbers are growing. Not only has the overall strength of women Wikipedians grown since it first began, but the rate at which new women editors are added annually and continue to edit has also been steadily rising.

Cross-tabulated vs. Wikipedia joining years (n=434)

3.3 A small minority of female Wikipedians report having unpleasant experiences[edit]

There is a common perception within the Wikimedia movement that women editors who are in a small minority have unpleasant interactions in Wikipedia, which is predominantly male. But the majority of female Wikipedia editors (78%) stated that they have not had any unpleasant experiences within the community. Only 7% reported receiving inappropriate messages or comments either in their userspace or elsewhere in Wikipedia. Just 4% of women editors in the sample said that they had been stalked online, and 5% said that someone had tried to flirt with them.

Q25. Percent of female editors who reported experiencing the listed harrassment (n=434)

3.4 A small minority of male and female editors believe that userspace is sexualized[edit]

Within the Wikimedia movement we often hear that Wikipedia is not able to attract women editors since userspace in Wikipedia is highly sexualized, and often sexual innuendos drive women editors away from Wikipedia. But we did not find large-scale evidence of sexualization of userspace. Only a very small minority of editors surveyed (6%) said that userspace (user and discussion pages) in Wikipedia are sexualized (i.e. contain sexual talks, innuendos, images, etc.). The percentages of men and women who believed that userspace was sexualized were at a matching 6%.

3.5 Women make much fewer edits in general[edit]

Even as we strategize about how to attract new women editors, we also need to work on increasing the velocity of current female editors to have more women-centric content. A recent study conducted by a team of researchers at the University of Minnesota found that content on female-centric topics tends to be featured less in Wikipedia. An analysis of self-reported edits by gender shows significant differences at both ends of the spectrum. While women are more likely than men to make only between 1 and 50 lifetime edits, men are more likely than women to make 10,000 edits or more.

D1b. Total self-reported edits by gender (n=4,930)

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