Why is Wikipedia such a men's club?

Women make up just 13 per cent of Wikipedia editors

You say you don't trust Wikipedia? Well, you can blame your lack of confidence on men, at least for the most part.

According to a survey conducted by the Wikimedia Foundation and United Nations University, about a third of 175,000 Wikipedia users reported that they actually help write and edit encyclopedia entries - as opposed to merely reading them - and of that group women constituted a paltry 13 per cent.

That more men than women take the time to write, edit and wrangle over Wikipedia entries is not surprising. However, that the disparity between the participation of the sexes is so cavernous is raising eyebrows.

So what's up? Your guess is as good as mine (and likely a lot better than much of the drivel posted on various blogs last week). Wikipedia's response to my inquiry offered little insight, although the organisation has promised to analyse the data and issue a report later this year.

In the 'about' page on its Web site, Wikipedia proprietors had already acknowledged a gender gap among their ranks: "While most articles may be altered by anyone, in practice editing will be performed by a certain demographic (younger rather than older, male rather than female, rich enough to afford a computer rather than poor, et cetera) and may, therefore, show some bias."

Male rather than female in this case apparently means about seven men for every woman.

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