Gender equity report 2018/Background

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Conversations with movement leaders


Rosiestep, principal interviewer

In April 2017, we launched the Gender Diversity Mapping Project. Our main goals were to understand the work Wikimedia communities are doing to advance gender equity, their major successes and challenges, and the impact of their efforts. We aimed to share best practices and lessons learned, identify common challenges, and inspire new initiatives across the movement. In the process of writing this report, we changed the name of this project from "gender diversity" to "gender equity" because we believe it better describes the purpose of the ongoing efforts in the Wikimedia communities. It also ties them more clearly to the Wikimedia movement strategic direction with its focus on knowledge equity.

Purpose statement We developed this report with three aims in mind:

Community Mapping icon - Noun Project 8677.svg To give gender equity leaders broader insight into one another’s experiences across the movement.
Globe icon (the Noun Project 30701).svg To inform the larger movement about the status of gender equity work across many global contexts and promote more understanding about the unique challenges and successes of this work.
Handshake, by David.svg To give existing and prospective organizational partners insight into the current context of gender equity work on Wikimedia projects, and to encourage further collaboration and partnerships.


Methods and limitations

[1]

Research for this project consisted of individual interviews with 65 Wikimedians who play a prominent role in increasing gender equity in the Wikimedia movement. User:Rosiestep conducted the interviews designed in collaboration with an advisory board. A snowball sampling method was used to select participants -- this means we (WMF staff, Rosiestep and the advisory board) used our networks to identify gender equity leaders in the movement who then referred us to others in their communities. The participants represent a substantial sampling of gender equity leaders in a variety of geographies and languages who are visibly active in more international and meta-level conversations about these issues. We understand this method is not a comprehensive and inclusive approach to understanding gender equity efforts across the movement. We are interested in broadening the scope of understanding and are considering the possibility of a future survey to further expand the breadth of perspectives included. We then hired a consultant with experience in analyzing large amounts of qualitative data to review the extensive interview notes and audio transcripts. She used multiple validation strategies, as well as code memos and peer debriefing to try and counteract researcher bias.

In reviewing the data, it became clear that there were a number of limitations in the raw data that made it difficult to draw conclusions with certainty across interviews. These limitations include the following:

  • Lack of common definitions
  • Not all of the questions were answered by every participant
  • Ambiguity in how questions were answered
  • English-language centric (some interviews were conducted via translator, but the majority were done in English, which was in many cases not the participant's native language)

These limitations impacted what answers could be identified as “statistically significant” (24% or higher) and what is presented in this report.


Contributors Many people contributed to this project, including the 65 individuals who took the time to share their stories with us. We are grateful for their experience, their honesty, and their guidance.

Advisory Group:

  1. Fraenkel & Wallen, 1990; Locke et al., 1987; Merriam, 1988