Excerpted from Wall Street Journal blog, see full text here:
Only 13% of Wikipedia Contributors Are Women, Study Says
August 31, 2009
A broad new survey of Wikipedia users found that only 13% of the online encyclopedia's contributors are women. The November survey, which had some 175,000 valid responses, was conducted in multiple languages by the Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit that operates the site, and United Nations University's tech-research program MERIT ( . . . ) Of the 53,888 respondents who said they contribute to Wikipedia, only 6,814 were women. The male/female ratio is closer among those who read entries but don't write or edit them: 69% men to 31% women. The average respondent age hovers in the twentysomethings. Men tend to be a few years older, at 26, while women were 24 on average.
Altruism and fact-checking are the top motivations of contributors, the study found. About 73% indicated "I like the idea of sharing knowledge and want to contribute to it," while 69% said "I saw an error I wanted to fix" ( . . . ) When asked what would make them more likely to contribute to the site, the top response was if "I knew there were specific topic areas that needed my help" (41%), followed by "It was clear to me that other people would benefit from my efforts" (36%) ( . . . ) Among the reasons for not contributing, many respondents cited time constraints, satisfaction with just reading entries or simply not knowing how to edit the pages. One quarter, however, said they're afraid of making a mistake "and getting 'in trouble' for it" ( . . . )