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Research:Addressing Wikipedia’s Gender Gaps Through Social Media Ads

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
14:21, 25 May 2024 (UTC)
Duration:  2024-June – 2025-June

This page documents a research project in progress.
Information may be incomplete and change as the project progresses.
Please contact the project lead before formally citing or reusing results from this page.

Wikipedia suffers from a wide range of knowledge gaps, defined as underrepresentation of certain groups in content coverage, readership, and contribution [1]. One of the best-studied knowledge gaps is the gender gap, with women being minority among both readers and editors [2] [3].

This research aims to increase the gender representation in Wikipedia by proposing to target skilled women in social media platforms. In particular, the initiative seeks to test the hypothesis: “social media campaigns bring women to Wikipedia's front door”.



We will design a survey to determine whether women are willing to contribute to Wikipedia based on their skills and knowledge. Social media ads will be used to target and invite participants to complete the survey.

To achieve the research goal, we plan to follow the following steps:

  1. Survey: Designing an online survey to assess willingness to read or edit Wikipedia articles aligned with skills, expertise, and domain knowledge. The survey will include questions on different constructs: demographics, skills, prior experience, willingness, and nudging techniques to contribute to Wikipedia.
  2. Campaigns: Creating social media advertisement campaigns on 5 different platforms. These campaigns aim to target active users based on various traits (such as gender and interests) to invite them to participate in the survey.
  3. Analysis: Evaluating campaigns’ performance in terms of impressions, clicks, and survey response rate per platform.



We aim to start the project on June 1, 2024 and conclude it by June 30, 2025.

Expected outputs


The outcome will be a blueprint proposing a variety of targeting strategies for reaching out to female editors on each social media platform, by better understanding their willingness. The blueprint benefits the Wikimedia Foundation's research and development team. It also benefits researchers and experts interested in tackling gender gap issues.

Policy, Ethics and Human Subjects Research


We aim to respect the safety, welfare, and dignity of human participants in our research and treat them equally and fairly.

We comply with the policies and ethical guidelines of the Wikimedia Foundation.



The study is currently in progress.



The study is in progress. Links to presentations, blog posts, or other ways in which the work is disseminated will be updated on an ongoing basis.


  1. Miriam Redi, Martin Gerlach, Isaac Johnson, Jonathan Morgan, and Leila Zia. 2021. A Taxonomy of Knowledge Gaps for Wikimedia Projects (Second Draft). arXiv:2008.12314 (2021). https://doi.org/10.48550/arXiv.2008.12314 arXiv:2008.12314
  2. saac Johnson, Florian Lemmerich, Diego Sáez- Trumper, Robert West, Markus Strohmaier, and Leila Zia. 2020. Global gender differences in Wikipedia readership. arXiv:2007.10403 (2020). https://doi.org/10.48550/arXiv.2007.10403 arXiv:2007.10403
  3. Judd Antin, Raymond Yee, Coye Cheshire, and Oded Nov. 2011. Gender differences in Wikipedia editing. In Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration (New York, NY, USA) (WikiSym ’11). Association for Computing Machinery, 11–14. https://doi.org/10.1145/2038558.2038561