Examples of Bias in Wikipedia: Gender bias

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This article lists examples of Bias in Wikipedia, related to gender bias. It includes both discrimination in the internal management of the Wikimedia Foundation (WMF) and in the content of the encyclopedia:

Gender gap crusade

  1. WMF President Sue Gardner noted that there is a "gender gap" at Wikipedia and the WMF Board adopted a goal of increasing the percentage of volunteer editors who are female. In practice, the male volunteer editors have been abused and mistreated so that their reduction has caused an increase in the percentage. WMF has issued a "Gender Gap Manifesto" which includes as one of its goals, "Help men understand the obstacles women face and help them become better feminists."[1]
  2. In response to surveys showing that only 10%-13% of Wikipedia editors are women, the Wikimedia Foundation established a "Gender Gap email list" to discuss how to encourage more women to participate as editors. It was proposed that the email list be split into two section, one for women and transgendered and another for their male allies.[2] When the Deputy Director of the Wikimedia Foundation questioned the wisdom of the proposal,[3] he was denounced as "sexist."
  3. WMF's efforts at affirmative action have been frustrated because most user names are not gender-specific and some editors online personalities do not correspond to their real-life genders. Apparently, some Wikipedia editors regard that project as a large role-playing game where accusing an opponent in a debate of "sexism" is a legitimate tactic (even if the parties are not truthful about their online gender claims.)
  4. Wikipedia editor Sarah Stierch was the volunteer moderator of the Gender Gap email list where she departed from discussing Wikipedia to freely share her negative experiences with men in her life. In fall 2011, she was hired by the WMF as a Community Fellow to work on creating a "Teahouse" for newer Wikipedia editors. The report on the Teahouse Pilot Project[4] explained, "If you click through to the Teahouse, it’s clearly aiming to broaden female participation - just look at the pastel background and references to tea." Stierch tried to use Twitter to recruit more female editors into Teahouse and the English Wikipedia. The report concluded, "Because so much time and energy needed to be spend during the pilot on setting up and maintaining the space, we weren't able to focus as much as we'd have liked on gender-targeted strategies for recruiting female guests and hosts. There are clearly more experiments that need to be run in order to better integrate the space with other gender gap efforts and WikiWomen's calls to actions." Stierch was dismissed by the WMF in January 2014 for moonlighting as a paid Wikipedia editor.

Biased content

  1. Wikipedia user MZMcBride ran a search to analyse all the biographies of living people that Jimmy Wales has edited. Wales has made 469 edits to biographies of living persons. Nearly 33% of those were applied to female biography subjects. Because only 19% of Wikipedia's biographies are about women, Jimmy Wales is 72% more likely than “random” to address the biographies of women than those of men. His edits focus upon younger women.[5]
  2. Wikipedia created a POV-pushing fork article attacking Republican Congressman Todd Akin, called "Todd Akin rape and pregnancy controversy"[6] which was nominated for deletion. Sue Gardner, Executive Director of the Wikimedia Foundation, weighed in to advocate keeping the article when most editors thought it was sufficiently covered in Todd Akin's biography.[7] This in turn, prompted a thread entitled "Is Sue Gardner an Idiot?" on wikipediareview.com.[8] After 130,738 bytes of debate, the deletion proposal was rejected as "no consensus," allowing the attack article to be kept.[9]
  3. Wikipedia awarded "good article" status[10] to a biased description of liberal Balboa High School, saying it has "a progressively nurturing environment" undergoing "a steady renaissance marked by academic innovation."[11] Nowhere in Wikipedia's 4,468-word description does it admit that half the 9th graders lacked proficiency on a statewide English test.[12] Instead, Wikipedia editors apparently like how this public school converted its metal shop into a sex-based "health" clinic.
  4. Wikipedia is sexist? Definitions of antonyms don't match up:
    1. Matriarchy is a term, which is applied to gynocentric form of society, in which the leading role is with the female and especially with the mothers of a community.[13]
    2. Patriarchy describes a social structure where the actions and ideas of men and boys are dominant over those of women and girls.[14]
  5. The Carrie Prejean article on Wikipedia is carefully crafted however, major points tend to end with a liberals last word. 'Photograph controversy' last line quotes "go beyond what the Miss California pageant says are appropriate, and do not benefit Prejean's status." The section 'Crown retention', last line says- "she no longer believes in the organization," referring to a pageant official. The page is locked from mentioning other contestants who also had photos questionable under pageant rules. The last line of 'Miss USA 2009 controversy', plug the candidate for governor of Ca. and same-sex advocate SF mayor Gavin Newsom beliefs, supports Prejean. Wikipedia's non family-friendly presentation is complete with text of Hilton's foul-mouthed tirade.[15]
  6. Radical feminists have taken control of Wikipedia's coverage of netball to promote the idea there is a bias against sports that are played primarily by women (such as netball) in the Olympics[16] and that netball helps obscure nations like the Cook Islands to "raise the profile of the country internationally."[17] At one time, they tried to create the impression that Netball is played "at the Olympics" and created an article "Netball at the Olympics"[18] with a pictogram to mimic the other Olympic sports.[19] When other editors have tried to curb such excesses[20] they were proposed to be topic blocked. The radical feminists are trying to create the myth that Netball is an "Olympic sport" (which Wikipedia defines as being played in the Olympics) and they revert any effort to correct their false claims.[21][22][23][24] The radical feminists ignored the consensus of Wikiproject Olympics.[25] They removed documented claims that the earliest that netball could be considered for inclusion would be 2024.[26][27][28][29][30]
  7. The same radical feminists who wrote "Netball and the Olympic Movement" have virtually the same biased material in the article Women's sports at the Olympics.
  8. Again, out of defensiveness over the relative obscurity of netball, the radical feminists go out of their way to phrase articles in terms of the undocumented "popularity" of netball rather than the extent of participation.[31][32][33]
  9. The Wikipedia article Minister responsible for the Status of Women (Canada) is extremely superficial and makes only a quick mention of the slander lawsuit that the government agency lost in 2003 against the creator of the "BC Fathers" website that provides information for fathers in custody disputes.[34]
  10. The Wikipedia article "Status of Women" redirects to Women's history. That article is filled with biased, unreferenced statements like, "Women are usually excluded [from history] and, when mentioned, are usually portrayed in sex-stereotypical roles, such as wives, mothers, daughters and mistresses."
  11. Wikipedia has a Feminism Portal which is much more extensive than its Men's Rights Portal which purports to cover the corresponding movement to end discrimination against men. Similarly, the Maculism article is only 18,086 bytes long while the Feminism article is 97,301 bytes long and has five photographs.
  12. Wikipedia glowing biography of Helen Gurley Brown has been the subject of an edit war which has deleted references to critics of Brown's feminist views.[35]
  13. Outspoken feminist Carol Moore, who was active in Wikipedia's Gender Gap Task Force, was banned from editing Wikipedia.[36] Prior to that, Wikipedia created an attack biography about her.[37] It was deleted after a debate.[38][39]
  14. A Women's Studies class at Mount Royal University tried to create a Wikipedia article about a feminist blogger, but was met with resistance.[40]
  15. Wikipedia's article "Gamergate controversy" is a prolonged edit war between feminists and computer game fans, which became the subject of a Wikipedia Arbitration Committee case. The Committee banned long-time editor Ryulong.[41]
  16. Wikipedia's editors repeatedly vandalised the Charles Bradlaugh entry to read he was a supporter of women's suffrage when Bradlaugh was instead a supporter of universal suffrage. The Charles Bradlaugh Society (est 2002) were banned by Wikipedia for re-editing this to be historically accurate, quoting directly from Bradlaugh's work The Real Representation of the People. This quote was deleted by editors as it highlighted Bradlaugh's support for universal suffrage. The last accurate version of Wikipedia entry can be found here.


  1. Gender Gap Manifesto. Retrieved on July 7, 2012.
  2. http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/gendergap/2011-March/000770.html
  3. http://lists.wikimedia.org/pipermail/gendergap/2011-March/000817.html
  4. Teahouse: Pilot Report (June 14, 2012).
  5. Kohs, Greg. "Jimmy Wales shows favoritism on Wikipedia", examiner.com, March 4, 2011. Retrieved on March 15, 2014. 
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Todd_Akin_%27legitimate_rape%27_and_pregnancy_comment_controversy&oldid=509892381
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Todd_Akin_rape_and_pregnancy_controversy&diff=508894934&oldid=508887733
  8. http://wikipediareview.com/index.php?showtopic=39036
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Todd_Akin_rape_and_pregnancy_controversy&oldid=509649032
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Good_articles
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balboa_High_School_(San_Francisco)
  12. Jill Tucker, "Student Successes Defy Urban Trends" San Francisco Chronicle (Aug. 16, 2006).
  13. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matriarchy
  14. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriarchy
  15. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Carrie_Prejean&diff= Wikipedia- Carrie Prejean
  16. Wikipedia article on Netball and the Olympic Movement
  17. Wikipedia article on netball in the Cook Islands
  18. Move Log:Netball at the Olympics (27 March 2011).
  19. Hale, Laura (March 26, 2011). Netball at the Olympics. Wikimedia Foundation. Retrieved on 2011-06-28.
  20. Good Article Review of Netball at the Olympics. Wikimedia Foundation (March 26, 2011). Retrieved on 2011-06-28.
  21. Netball (June 26, 2012).
  22. Netball and the Olympic Movement (June 26, 2012).
  23. Netball (January 30, 2013).
  24. Netball in the Cook Islands (January 30, 2013).
  25. Olympic recognized sports (April 26, 2011).
  26. Netball (July 15, 2012).
  27. International Federation of Netball Associations (July 16, 2012).
  28. Netball and the Olympic Movement (December 8, 2012).
  29. Netball and the Olympic Movement (January 30, 2013).
  30. Netball and the Olympic Movement (June 9, 2013).
  31. Netball in Singapore (July 16, 2012).
  32. Hawkeye7 (July 31, 2012). Netball in the Cook Islands.
  33. Stuartyeates (December 8, 2012). Netball.
  34. Wiebe v. Bouchard Supreme Court of British Columbia, 2008 BCSC 249 (March 11, 2008) Retreived June 29, 2012.
  35. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Helen_Gurley_Brown&diff=526984890&oldid=526177954 (Dec. 8, 2012).
  36. Carolmooredc Banned (December 1, 2014). Retrieved on December 15, 2014.
  37. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Carol_Moore_%282nd_nomination%29
  38. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Miscellany_for_deletion/User:Sitush/Carol_Moore
  39. Auerbach, David. "Encyclopedia Frown", Slate, Dec. 11 2014. Retrieved on Dec 15, 2014. 
  40. Nolais, Jeremy. "Mount Royal University women’s studies class aims to take back piece of Wikipedia", Calgary Metro News, December 23, 2014. Retrieved on December 25, 2014. 
  41. GamerGate. Retrieved on February 8, 2015.