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Fwd: Re: [Discussions WMFr] Des hommes, des femmes et ... des mots!

Chronologique Discussions 
  • From: Lionel Allorge <lallorge AT>
  • To: APRIL Liste Diversité <diversite AT>
  • Subject: Fwd: Re: [Discussions WMFr] Des hommes, des femmes et ... des mots!
  • Date: Tue, 1 Feb 2011 10:37:39 +0100
  • Organization: April


Je vous fais suivre ce message à propos d'un article du New York Times (qui
n'est plus en ligne) qui parle de la faible participation des femmes à
Wikipédia. Ce texte est passé sur la liste de discussion de Wikimedia France.

---------- Message transmis ----------

Sujet : Re: [Discussions WMFr] Des hommes, des femmes et ... des mots!
Date : mardi 1 février 2011
De : Thierry Coudray <thierry.coudray AT>
À : discussions AT

Attention l'article du NYT était disponible pour tous en ligne hier mais
réservé aux inscrits aujourd'hui.
Dans ma grande bonté, je vous en remet la transcription ci-dessous. Vous ne
perdez que la photo de Sue Gardner avec son assistant James Owens et ... son
chien, un fox-terrier

En très bref résumé, il n'y a que 13% de femmes parmi les contributeurs à
Wikipédia qui s'explique par tout de sorte de raisons dont le monde très
masculin des geeks et Sue Gardner aimerait monter ce pourcentage à 25 % en
2015 principalement pour un meilleur équilibre de l'encyclopédie. Le NYT
donne ainsi des exemples dont celui des deux séries télé "Sex and the City"
et "les Sopranos", la première étant beaucoup moins détaillée que la


Define Gender Gap? Look Up Wikipedia’s Contributor List By NOAM

In 10 short years,
accomplished some remarkable goals. More than 3.5 million articles in
English? Done. More than 250 languages? Sure.

But another number has proved to be an intractable obstacle for the online
encyclopedia: surveys suggest that less than 15 percent of its hundreds of
thousands of contributors are women.

About a year ago, the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that runs
Wikipedia, collaborated on a
Wikipedia’s contributor base and discovered that it was barely 13
women; the average age of a contributor was in the mid-20s, according to the
study by a joint center of the United
and Maastricht University.

Sue Gardner, the executive director of the foundation, has set a goal to
raise the share of female contributors to 25 percent by 2015, but she is
running up against the traditions of the computer world and an obsessive
fact-loving realm that is dominated by men and, some say, uncomfortable for

Her effort is not diversity for diversity’s sake, she says. “This is about
wanting to ensure that the encyclopedia is as good as it could be,” Ms.
Gardner said in an interview on Thursday. “The difference between Wikipedia
and other editorially created products is that Wikipedians are not
professionals, they are only asked to bring what they know.”

“Everyone brings their crumb of information to the table,” she said. “If
they are not at the table, we don’t benefit from their crumb.”

With so many subjects represented — most everything has an article on
Wikipedia — the gender disparity often shows up in terms of emphasis. A
topic generally restricted to teenage girls, like friendship
can seem short at four paragraphs when compared with lengthy articles on
something boys might favor, like, toy soldiers or baseball cards, whose
voluminous entry includes a detailed chronological history of the subject.

Even the most famous fashion designers — Manolo
Jimmy Choo — get but a handful of paragraphs. And consider the
between two popular series on
The entry on “Sex and the City” includes only a brief summary of every
episode, sometimes two or three sentences; the one on “The Sopranos”
includes lengthy, detailed articles on each episode.

Is a category with five Mexican feminist writers impressive, or embarrassing
when compared with the 45 articles on characters in “The Simpsons”?

The notion that a collaborative, written project open to all is so skewed to
men may be surprising. After all, there is no male-dominated executive team
favoring men over women, as there can be in the corporate world; Wikipedia
is not a software project, but more a writing experiment — an “exquisite
corpse,” <> or game where each
player adds to a larger work.

But because of its early contributors Wikipedia shares many characteristics
with the hard-driving hacker crowd, says Joseph Reagle, a fellow at the
Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. This includes an
ideology that resists any efforts to impose rules or even goals like
diversity, as well as a culture that may discourage women.

“It is ironic,” he said, “because I like these things — freedom, openness,
egalitarian ideas — but I think to some extent they are compounding and
hiding problems you might find in the real world.”

Adopting openness means being “open to very difficult, high-conflict people,
even misogynists,” he said, “so you have to have a huge argument about
whether there is the problem.” Mr. Reagle is also the author of “Good Faith
Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia.”

Ms. Gardner, citing an example that resonates with her personally, pointed
to the Wikipedia entry for one of her favorite authors, Pat Barker, which
was a mere three paragraphs when she came across it. Ms. Barker is an
acclaimed writer of psychologically nuanced novels, many set during World
War I. She is 67 and lives in England.

By contrast, Niko Bellic had an article about five times as long as Ms.
Barker’s at the time. It’s a question of demographics: Mr. Bellic is a
character in the video game Grand Theft Auto IV; he is 30 and a former

The public is increasingly going to Wikipedia as a research source:
According to a recent Pew
the percentage of all American adults who use the site to look for
information increased to 42 percent in May 2010, from 25 percent in February
2007. This translates to 53 percent of adults who regularly use the

Jane Margolis, co-author of a book on sexism in computer science, “Unlocking
the Clubhouse,” argues that Wikipedia is experiencing the same problems of
the offline world, where women are less willing to assert their opinions in
public. “In almost every space, who are the authorities, the politicians,
writers for op-ed pages?” said Ms. Margolis, a senior researcher at the
Institute for Democracy, Education and Access at the University of
California, Los

According to the OpEd Project <>, an
organization based in New York that monitors the gender breakdown of
contributors to “public thought-leadership forums,” a participation rate of
roughly 85-to-15 percent, men to women, is common — whether members of
Congress, or writers on The New York Times and Washington Post Op-Ed pages.

It would seem to be an irony that Wikipedia, where the amateur contributor
is celebrated, is experiencing the same problem as forums that require
expertise. But Catherine Orenstein, the founder and director of the OpEd
Project, said many women lacked the confidence to put forth their views.
“When you are a minority voice, you begin to doubt your own competencies,”
she said.

She said her group had persuaded women to express themselves by urging them
to shift the focus “away from oneself — ‘do I know enough, am I bragging?’ —
and turn the focus outward, thinking about the value of your knowledge.”

Ms. Margolis said she was an advocate of recruiting women as a group to
fields or forums where they are under-represented. That way, a solitary
woman does not face the burden alone.

Ms. Gardner said that for now she was trying to use subtle persuasion and
outreach through her foundation to welcome all newcomers to Wikipedia,
rather than advocate for women-specific remedies like recruitment or quotas.

“Gender is a huge hot-button issue for lots of people who feel strongly
about it,” she said. “I am not interested in triggering those strong

Kat Walsh, a policy analyst and longtime Wikipedia contributor who was
elected to the Wikimedia board, agreed that indirect initiatives would cause
less unease in the Wikipedia community than more overt efforts.

But she acknowledged the hurdles: “The big problem is that the current
Wikipedia community is what came about by letting things develop naturally —
trying to influence it in another direction is no longer the easiest path,
and requires conscious effort to change.”

Sometimes, conscious effort works. After seeing the short entry on Ms.
Barker, Ms. Gardner added a substantial amount of background. During the
same time, Niko Bellic’s page has grown by only a few sentences.

Thierry Coudray
Administrateur - Trésorier
Wikimédia France <>
Liste de discussion de Wikimédia France
Désincription :
Archives :


Lionel Allorge
Secrétaire de l'April
Découvrez le Catalogue libre :
"Les tyrans ne sont grands que parce que nous sommes à genoux"
Étienne de La Boétie

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