Learning patterns/Number of women participating

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A learning pattern forreporting
Number of women participating
problemCollecting information female participation is tricky.
solutionUse on-wiki event pages or surveys carefully.
creatorEGalvez (WMF)
created on23 June, 2015

Inspire Campaign Metric
This is the overview for the Inspire Campaign Global Metric.
Learn what's behind the inspire campaign - See the proposals.

What problem does this solve?[edit]

This learning pattern discusses ways to measure how many women are participating in a event, project, or program. One of the goals of the Inspire Campaign is to increase the number of women editing on the Wikimedia projects.

What is the solution?[edit]

General guidelines to follow when gathering personal information[edit]

  • Be sure to check your local laws. There may be differences in privacy laws based on where you reside or where the data is being collected. To be sure you are collecting, using, and retaining data in a manner compliant with applicable laws, please consult a local privacy attorney.

  • When collecting personal data, always be clear about what will and will not be posted publicly. Under Wikimedia's privacy policy and the laws of some countries, gender is considered "personal information" that should be protected with it's associated with personally identifying information, like a real name (or in the case of Wikimedia's privacy policy, a username).  WMF's statement about user feedback is an example of how Wikimedia tells feedback subjects how it plans on using that feedback.

  • Gender information should be preferably collected in a database separately from username or real name data. If gender data is shared with others, intentionally or unintentionally, users would be better protected because their gender would not be in the same database.

  • If gender information is gathered in a way that it is associated with the username or real name, only share out gender information in an aggregated way that protects the privacy of users.

  • In most cases, you can disclose information, no matter how personal, if the affected user gives explicit permission to. This means that if you want to be public about the gender of specific users, you can, if the affected users explicitly and preferably in writing (e.g. affirmatively marking a check box or emailing permission) gives their consent to disclose that information. Similarly, in surveys, if you are very clear and conspicuous that information disclosed through the survey will be public, then you can disclose the information in most cases. Be sure to check your local laws to make sure this applies to you!

  • If you have any questions about the process for gathering this data, email eval@wikimedia.org. We can assist you or try to find someone who can. Please note that the Wikimedia Foundation cannot provide you with legal advice or representation.

Use cases for gathering Number of women participating[edit]

Using a Wiki page[edit]

  • Use an on-wiki event page and offer users the option of self-identifying as women, making sure to specify that anything published to a Wikimedia site is public and be sure to link to Wikimedia's privacy policy. Below is some example language you can include in an on-wiki page prepared for an event targeted for women participants. The language combines disclaimers for both personal information and using Wikimetrics to track online user activity. (Note that if participants are asked to sign up somewhere else that is not a wikimedia site, then do not include Wikimedia Privacy Policy.)

Sign up with your username below to participate in this event! If you do sign up, know that by listing your username, you may be suggesting in a public way that you self-identify as a female user. Sign up to also allow us to learn more about how you use Wikimedia during and after this event, so that we can work towards improving it. By signing up, you agree to let us use this information for these purposes. If you would rather sign up in a different way, message us at [Email or link to survey]. You can also review the Wikimedia Foundation's Privacy Policy for more information.

  • Offer both a combination of both wiki and non-wiki ways to report gender. For example, if someone would rather not sign up for a "Women's Editathon" publicly, make sure to include a separate survey link where they can sign up privately.

Using surveys[edit]

  • In general, it is recommended to give users the option to provide their gender anonymously from their username, for both online or offline surveys. In one survey, users provide anonymously all personal information, except their username. In a second survey, users can report their username, as well as any additional information, such as their occupation, or what they learned during the event.
  • Be sure to include specific language about how the personal information will be used.
  • Be cautious when gathering as well as storing the data you collect. Typically, it is better to protect datasets that include personal information with a password.
  • Retain data for only as long as you actually need it, then dispose of it in a secure manner.
  • Use the following question for any survey:

Which gender do you identify with?

Another identity
Prefer not to say
  • We use four options because we want to be careful with exposing who is responding to a survey even if the survey is anonymous. Some surveys offer many more options, for example: transmale/transfemale, genderqueer, etc.[1] The issue with these options is that the number of people who may select an identity categories outside of "male" and "female" is often small, making it easy to learn who the survey respondent is and exposing their responses. It is a better practice, for the privacy of these individuals, to aggregate identities into as large a category as possible.

Online Surveys[edit]

  • Use a survey for event registration. This allows for more privacy for everyone who signs up for an event. Be sure to count who actually attends the event so you can later count how many women attended.
  • User two separate surveys to gather personal information. This is the best way to gather personal information, so that you are not at risk for disclosing user's personal information. Using this process gives responders a reason to share their personal information.

Offline Surveys[edit]

  • For paper and pencil surveys, you can use two surveys to gather data: one for sensitive information (like gender), except usernames, a second to gather usernames or real names, so that sensitive information about a user is not connected to a person's username or real name.
  • If users are signing up only using paper and pencil, and you want to track user data, you must ask for opt-in consent. Here is more information about how to do this.
  • No Survey? Take a look at who is in the room. This typically not recommended, but it is one way if you do not have other options.

Things to consider[edit]

See also[edit]

Related patterns[edit]

External links[edit]