Grants:Project/Rapid/A study on gender differences in leadership and its impact on projects and affiliate growth in Indian communities: A pilot study

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Praveenky1589/A study on gender differences in leadership and its impact on projects and affiliate growth in Indian communities: A pilot study
Considering the importance and need to review the editing and leadership relationship, and to address some of the reported observations by researchers in the past, the following study has been submitted.
targetIndic language(s) projects
start date1st December 2020
end date31st March
budget (local currency)₹ 1,03,740
budget (USD)1,414.61 USD
grant typeIndividual
contact(s)•• dr.manavpreetkaur(_AT_)


Over the years, Wikipedia has grown exponentially where, where in 2020, it holds 30.48 GB of content in the form of 3672 million words in 2756 volumes in 313 languages[1]. Wikipedia is predominantly a volunteer community run project and has a wide diversity of editors in terms of  sex and gender, age group, profession, expertise, geographic background and language.

In an online encyclopedia and a global platform as big as Wikipedia, it is important both figuratively and structurally that diversity is promoted. In order to achieve the Wikimedia’s vision of a world in which every single human can freely share in the sum of all knowledge, then all knowledge has to be written by all people, which means that it has to represent all people[2]”. A balanced male and female participation is believed to  make the content more balanced by bringing in different perspectives, experiences, interests, and understanding, thus promoting neutrality in the decision-making processes of the online communities and affiliates..

One of the key aspects that has been identified as a priority by various groups is “bridging the gender gap” that exists in terms of editors ratio, content about women & women in leadership. There are many groups and allied organizations who have been actively working to promote the cause and also planning initiatives to bridge the content gap. The content and editor gap is widely accepted, but there is another aspect that requires attention, “Representation of Women in leadership roles”, which has not been explored as much as women editorship.

It is important to review the editing and leadership relationship, to address some of the reported observations by researchers in the past. Excerpts of some of the reported studies have raised important concerns which are as follows-

  • Issues such as female sexual and menstrual health are often overlooked by male editors[3].
  • A 2016 study[4] reported that there was a significant difference in-
    • the coverage (biographies) of notable females from different backgrounds as compared to male counterparts from similar fields. Women have made enormous contributions to sciences, politics, and social empowerment and continue to do so. Yet the recognition for these women is not as widespread as men.[5]
    • content (Article size) of articles about males versus females.
    • presentation of information and content type in male versus female articles. As women’s biographies were more likely to contain words related to relationship status or family.

When institutions like Wikipedia “involve systematic distortion, then we get farther and farther away from accurate understandings of the world. A lack of female editors means that its content can be hostile to women, which in turn drives away potential female editors[6]. Due to skewed male contribution, many female issues are often overlooked and rarely discussed.

Despite various projects (such as various edit-a-thons, Wikiwomen, Inspire campaign, etc.), a huge gender gap persists and many studies have shown stark differences in gender participation in editors. The percentage of female Wikipedia editors is somewhere between 9 and 16%. In 2008, 13% of contributors at Wikipedia were females which increased to 16.1% in 2009. Even so, this is way below the target of 25% female contribution set by Wikipedia. The study by Torress outlines many reasons for this low female contribution. They reported that women feel less confident about their expertise and less comfortable with editing other’s work. This situation is no different in the Indian context. Although the internet penetration in India was almost double in 2012, only 3% of editors from India were women. The women’s participation in the leadership of Indian Wikimedia communities is even lesser[7]. The problem of women’s low participation in editing Wikipedia is also impacted by the limited women leadership. Supposedly, a higher number of women leaders must attract more women to come forward to edit.

 One way to address this concern is to study and identify the factors affecting female participation and identify the potential actions to promote the Women contribution in Wikimedia projects. In order to study the relationship between women leadership and women contribution, we must study how women leadership has performed in the past. . In the present study, we will be doing a review and meta review of events organized by females versus males, their outcome, continuation and participation.  We will also do a comparative analysis of male-female participation ratio in the activities organized by different leads. This study will help us to look into the gender dynamics and its impact on the project growth.

Project Goal[edit]

Briefly explain what are you trying to accomplish with this project, or what do you expect will change as a result of this grant. Example goals include, "recruit new editors", "add high quality content", or "train existing editors on a specific skill".

Objective 1 - To evaluate the number of males and females in leadership roles in activities and affiliates.
Objective 2 - Meta review of participation, outcome and continuation of projects headed by males and females in the last 2 years.
Objective 3 - To study the editor retention stats of the last 5 years. in the year 2019 - 2020.

Project Plan[edit]

The proposed study will be conducted on the two language based communities in India- Punjabi and Tamil. The reasons of selection are-

  • Both these communities have been leading the two iterations of Project Tiger edit-a-thon.
  • Punjabi community is the first recognized affiliate from India, while Tamil community is an independent group. This will help us study the affiliate dynamics and their impact on project growth (if any).

We will gather the required data from the dashboards of various activities, reports, Special:CentralAuth. We will also conduct interviews with the female leaders identified through the data review for discussions on the factors affecting the participation and experiences.


Tell us how you'll carry out your project. What will you and other organizers spend your time doing?

  • Meta review of previous studies - Literature on previous studies will be reviewed to study the reported outcomes and do a comparative analysis of differences in observations in their studies.
  • Data review and analysis - Available data on the previous projects undertaken by Indic languages communities will be reviewed to study the gender based patterns of projects and affiliate growth.
  • Interviews - Interviews will be conducted to understand the underlying reasons for the gender differences uncovered by the above activity.

How will you let others in your community know about your project (please provide links to where relevant communities have been notified of your proposal, and to any other relevant community discussions)? Why are you targeting a specific audience?

  • We will post on village pump, mailing list and off wiki channels. We will also write individual emails wherever required. Our target projects are Indic language projects with special focus on two languages that is Tamil and Punjabi.

What will you have done at the end of your project? How will you follow-up with people that are involved with your project? We would have identified the pattern of growth and expansion of wiki projects & activities under different leadership with a special focus on gender in representation. We will share the outcomes of the pilot study with the wide community by publishing a report. The outcome of this pilot will help us design future studies. We intend to continuously stay in touch with the communities to keep the learning cycle live.

Are you running any in-person events or activities? If so, you will need to complete the steps outlined on the Risk Assessment protocol related to COVID-19. When you have completed these steps, please provide a link to your completed copy of the risk assessment tool below:

No in-person events/ activities have been proposed.


How will you know if the project is successful and you've met your goals? Please include the following targets and feel free to add more specific to your project:

This research will lead to better judgment while allocating events, and resources associated with it. This will help identify the statistics of gender representation and its impact on the growth of Wiki projects, activities & affiliates further resulting in better performance and synergy in the movement as a whole. The success markers would be
  • Statistical analysis of project growth with respect to leadership
  • Identifying factors affecting continuation of projects


What resources do you have? Include information on who is the organizing the project, what they will do, and if you will receive support from anywhere else (in-kind donations or additional funding).

The project lead will design the study, conduct the analysis and report the findings.

The advisor will support in designing the study, review and with access to resources and community members

We will stay in contact with the community members for their suggestions and recommendations at regular intervals.

We have following resources-

  • Research experience - I have the expertise and skill to undertake this research.
  • Data resources - We have access to the data required for the project.
  • User:Manavpreet Kaur, who has been a member of Wikipedia community for a long time period, is an advisor in this project.

What resources do you need? For your funding request, list bullet points for each expense:

Human resources
  • Project management including research management
    • ₹90,000
  • Statistical analysis
    • Analyst with expertise in SPSS and Excel
    • ₹ 5,000
  • Resources
    • 2 months of tele services at ₹ 600/month
    • Internet services at an expense of ₹ 800/month
    • Total of ₹3,800
  • Unforeseen expenses
    • ₹4,940
  • 1,03,740