Gender Diversity Mapping

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki

The findings of the Gender Diversity Mapping project were reported in the Gender equity report 2018.


Improving the diversity our content and contributors is core to achieving our vision -- a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all human knowledge. While there are many facets to diversity, we know there is a clear lack of gender diversity within our movement: cisgender men are the majority of contributors on Wikimedia projects and this significantly impacts the content, culture and structure of the projects. Based on the incomplete data we have, we know that only 13-23% of our contributors on the Wikimedia projects are female, and we know nearly nothing about the participation rates of other genders. [1] There are many reasons for this imbalance and many initiatives across our movement to address the issue. However, we do not currently have a comprehensive understanding of the work that is being done across the movement to address this, the challenges women and other genders in our communities face, and what cultural, policy, or technical interventions could support an increase in gender diversity.

Project introduction[edit]

At the crossroads of editors, content, policies, programs, partnerships, and the public, there are a lot of different actions being taken to support gender diversity across Wikimedia communities, but no one has a complete picture of who is doing what, what the outcomes and impacts are, and what needs may exist to do this work better.

‘’’Gender diversity mapping’’’ is a strategic new initiative in 2017 that will map initiatives supporting gender diversity across the Wikimedia community. While Wikimedia communities have been working on addressing these issues for a number of years, this project will focus on the period of June 2016-June 2017 to provide a snapshot of the most recent activities. Through this project, we will develop a better understanding of the current state of activities supporting gender diversity. In particular, we hope the study is able to document successes, challenges, and capacity-building of various communities through an interview process. By having a more complete understanding of gender diversity efforts, we aim to better share best practices and lessons learned, measure impact, and inspire new projects across the movement. The project will be structured in a way that if someone wants to replicate the mapping at another point in the future, they can build off of this work.

On March 20, 2017, the Huffington Post ran a piece entitled, "Gender Diversity: Are We Asking The Right Questions?" This is a relevant headline for the Gender Diversity Mapping project, too, so, we invite your feedback! Please add your comments/questions to the talk page. If you'd like to participate in an interview, please state your interest on the talk page as well.


  • Through a series of interviews, develop a baseline gender diversity map for 2016-17. Our ultimate goal is to understand what Wikimedia communities are doing in regards to supporting an increase in gender diversity, what sort of outcomes have these efforts achieved, what impact have these efforts had on communities as well as what actions would be championed in the future.
  • Present preliminary findings at the upcoming WikiWomen Camp as a catalyst for discussion, resolution development, and mutually-agreed plans of action. The discussions will lead to a presentation of information organized around themes. The goal is to present a preview of the information in its most raw form but still summarized in a way that is useful. The findings should accurately reflect what the interviewees said and,
... should avoid interjections of interviewer bias
... should address commonalities and outliers
... should avoid detailed analysis
  • Present complete findings on Meta-wiki after all interviews have been conducted. Next steps to be determined with communities.


We will form an Advisory Board to provide guidance on the mapping process, including interview questions, interviewees, and data analysis and presentation.

The mapping process will occur via structured interviews with dozens of community members and translators as needed. We are aware that it will be impossible to cover all of the amazing work done by volunteers to support gender diversity across the globe. However, we hope that the interviews will be inclusive and comprehensive enough to indicate themes around success, challenges, and needs. The outcomes of the mapping will be presented in a way that people who were not interviewed can add their information. The "high-touch" approach provides contributors with person-to-person attention and customizes the context of the interview in a manner that surveys can't produce. The Advisory Board and translators will assist with the process to assure we work towards the goals. Preliminary results will be presented at the WikiWomen Camp in Mexico City in July 2017 with full results posted on wiki.

Plan and timeline[edit]


  • February 15 - April 1, 2017: brainstorming conversations
  • April 12: project launch
  • By April 20
  • Develop Meta page
  • Develop Advisory Board to assist with process and alignment to goals
  • Develop interviewee list
  • Develop notetakers and translators list
  • April 20: launch page on Meta
  • April 21:
  • Reach out to Advisory Board. Discuss and confirm participation in a variety of ways (interview question development, assistance with interview translation, interview notetakers)
  • By April 28
  • Develop interview questions, list of interviewees, list of notetakers and translators
  • Develop a message clarifying that those who weren’t interviewed were not intentionally left out of the process
  • Between April 28 and June 15:
  • Schedule and conduct qualitative research in the form of community interviews
  • Track A: Begin by interviewing the Advisory Board
  • Track B: Modify questions and process based on Track A learnings
  • Between June 15-30: Review transcripts, hand-code commonality clusters, compile and describe the data, including challenges, gaps, and opportunities
  • By June 30: Publish preliminary findings on Meta-Wiki
  • July 5: Present preliminary findings at WikiWomen’s Camp 2017


  • July: Publish full findings on Meta-Wiki
  • July: Present full findings at Wikimania Cape Town
  • Additional next steps to be determined


  • Scale:
  • Mapping gender diversity may be overly-broad for the time period we have allowed. A narrower scope, for example, concentrating just on content, or just editors, might be more practical.
  • After the work is done, documented, presented, and feedback provided, will this information be considered useful? How can we make it as useful as possible?
  • Awareness:
  • How do we make gender diversity leaders aware of the study?
  • Structure:
  • How do we know if the questions are broad enough and specific enough? How will we know if we missed asking something which is key to understanding? Will questions be structured in such a way so that the interviewee will be able to explain what actions were most important vs. most relevant vs. most authoritative vs. highest quality vs. most popular?
  • Participation:
  • Very few people can attend an international gender conference so involving the community in every part of the interview process should yield the highest buy-in when conference attendees deliberate resolutions or next steps.


The people involved in the Gender Diversity Mapping project include:

  • Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight (Rosiestep), Chief interviewer
  • Advisory Board
  • Alex Wang (AWang (WMF)), Program Officer, Community Resources, Wikimedia Foundation
  • Sati Houston (Shouston (WMF)), Grants Strategist, Community Resources, Wikimedia Foundation


  1. The 2010 UNU-MERIT survey was opt-in and found that less than 13% of Wikipedia contributors were female. The 2013 Benjamin Mako Hill survey, “The Wikipedia Gender Gap Revisited: Characterizing Survey Response Bias with Propensity Score Estimate”, estimated the proportion of female U.S. adult editors was 22.7%, and the total proportion of female editors around the world to be 16.1%.