Wikipedia Needs You (If You’re a Woman)

The annual Wikipedia conference has just been completed in Haifa, Israel. Wikimania 2011 was marked by a plea from Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales for more women to become editors of the site. The Independent quoted Wales admitting, “At the moment, we are relatively poor in a few areas; for example, biographies of famous women through history and issues surrounding early childcare.”

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with the Wikipedia community. According to Wales, nine out of ten Wikipedia editors are male. The average editor is 26 years old, something of a geek and is likely to stop editing Wikipedia when he commits himself to other projects and his life becomes more interesting. The website’s rate of growth is slowing now that it numbers some three million pages, but it still has around 90,000 active contributors, of whom more than 80,000 are male. The plan is to increase the number of contributors by 5,000 by next year - and to try to ensure that most of these new contributors are women.

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