Feminist Review

, Volume 113, Issue 1, pp 103–108 | Cite as

breaking the glass ceiling on Wikipedia

  • Dariusz Jemielniak
Open Space


Wikipedia suffers from a significant gender gap. According to different studies, as little as 8 to 16 per cent of editors are female (Lam et al., 2011; Wikimedia Foundation, 2011). These numbers may be somewhat distorted, as some females may choose to opt out of surveys or conceal their gender online in a community that is generally perceived as dominated by males (Hill and Shaw, 2013). Still, it is quite clear that, although for readers the proportions are pretty much equal, for editors the gender gap is really big (Glott et al., 2010; Bywater, 2011) and difficult to explain just by the stereotypical, geek-driven background of Wikipedia or simply the reproduction of inequalities (Morell, 2010).

One possible explanation is that Wikipedia is quite conflict-driven (Jemielniak, 2014), and the critical cooperative environment in which it thrives deters many female editors (Collier and Bear, 2012). The problem is not specific to Wikipedia alone as, in general, the F/L/OSS...



The described incident was part of fieldwork that was conducted with a research grant from the Polish National Science Center (no. UMO-2012/05/E/HS4/01498).


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© Feminist Review 2016

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  • Dariusz Jemielniak

There are no affiliations available

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