Sunday, April 28, 2013

Wikipedia and Gender Bias

Over the last few days, a startling trend on Wikipedia revealed a gender bias. The page, American Novelists has been consistently edited so certain names were removed from this category and placed under a sub category, "American Women Novelists." Apparently, women novelists are being removed alphabetically, including notable writers such as Harriet Beecher Stowe, Ayn Rand, Ann Beattie, Djuna Barnes, Emily Barton, Jennifer Belle, Aimee Bender, Amy Bloom, Judy Blume, Alice Adams, Louisa May Alcott, V. C. Andrews, Mary Higgins Clark, and numerous others while obscure male writers remain. This recent attention to such practice led to a newly created page, "American Men Novelists" on April 27th, 2013. However, immediately on Wikipedia is a notice that this new category is now "considered being merged to American Novelists".

Amanda Flipacchi, who exposed this trend in The New York Times article, "Wikipedia's Sexism Toward Female Novelists" had soon afterwards faced a backlash on her Wikipedia page. There were 22 changes to her page within 24 hours to discredit her. While Wikipedia indicates that editors take a neutral stance in sharing information, there is hardly anything neutral about the removal of women novelists or that 91% of the contributors are male. Inherently, most entries will have a biased perspective. 

Gender Gap Stories offers anecdotes to why women do not edit or contribute on Wikipedia. This is highly discerning. Additionally, PCMag published an article on Wikipedia's gender gap, as illustrated in Knock Twice's infographic below:

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