Grants:IEG/Beyond the Gender Gap: Understanding Women's Participation in Wikipedia

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Beyond the Gender Gap: Understanding Women's Participation in Wikipedia
IEG key blue.png
summaryThrough qualitative interviews with women Wikipedia editors, this study examines the lived experiences of these editors in order to cultivate a deeper, more nuanced understanding of how women’s participation shapes and is shaped by the Wikipedia community.
targetWomen editors in Wikipedia English projects
strategic priorityincrease participation
amount900 USD
this project needs...
created on17:18, 7 January 2016 (UTC)

Project idea[edit]

What is the problem you're trying to solve?[edit]

Since the news of the gender gap in 2011 [1], much of the ensuing academic research has examined the nature of the gap [2] [3] or its effects on Wikipedia's content [4] [5] and readership [6]. However, little is known about the factors contributing to the gender gap within Wikipedia. Of the studies that have explored causes, many appear to attribute the gap to “female lack”—lack of confidence, knowledge, or technical skills [7] [8]. Testimonies of Wikipedia's gendered culture provide important nuance to existing explanations of the gender gap; however, these stories have appeared in online news articles and blogs[9] [10] [11], not in academic research. Therefore, more scholarly examination of the sociocultural norms that affect women’s experiences and participation-- or lack thereof-- within Wikipedia is necessary.

What is your solution?[edit]

Thus, in-depth interviews with women Wikipedia editors is necessary for gathering rich, qualitative data about these women’s lived experiences and their knowledge of Wikipedia. Since some explanations of the gender gap fault women for their lack of representation, the unique knowledge of women within Wikipedia is essential for gaining a nuanced understanding of the variety of social factors and variables that influence women’s participation in the Wikipedia project.

Project goals[edit]

  • Utilize qualitative analysis to deepen understanding of the causes of the Wikipedia gender gap
  • Provide a platform for women editors' voices within the Wikipedia and scholarly community
  • Provide strategies for closing the gap informed by women editors
  • Expand understanding of women's involvement in online communities

Project plan[edit]


Interview 30-40 women editors of Wikipedia English


Interview transcription costs = 900 USD (for transcription of fifteen 60 minute interviews at 1 dollar per minute)

Community engagement[edit]

I plan to ask participants about potential strategies for reforming the gender gap as well as suggestions for platforms to share the findings so that they're helpful to the Wikipedia community.


The narratives collected from this project can be used as to inform the creation of projects, initiatives, tools, events, etc. that are created to promote women's involvement in the Wikimedia community.

Measures of success[edit]

When at least 20 interviews have been conducted, transcribed, and analyzed

Get involved[edit]


Danielle Corple is a graduate student at Purdue University studying organizations, gender, and technology.

Dr. Patrice Buzzanell is the faculty advisor for this project. She is a full professor at Purdue University in Organizational Communication. Her research interests include organizations, gender, leadership, and resilience.

Community notification[edit]


Do you think this project should be selected for an Individual Engagement Grant? Please add your name and rationale for endorsing this project below! (Other constructive feedback is welcome on the discussion page).