Recents studies into Wikipedia reveal a serious editorial gender bias which could distort its content
In 2010 the United Nations University carried out the largest survey so far on the demographics of Wikipedia. Thanks to the 176,792 responses obtained, it was able to identify many of the trends relating to the free, open encyclopaedia born almost fourteen years ago. For example, the typical editor was a white educated male, commonly a computer expert, who resided in the US or Europe. The study also showed that the average age of contributors was 26. Disturbingly, the study revealed that only 12.64% of the editors were women. In a collaborative encyclopedia that aims to bring together all the knowledge in the world, the data proved all too clearly that many points of view were dangerously wanting.
The Wikimedia Foundation took steps to remedy the situation with a number of specific initiatives. In regards to the huge gap in participation of men and women, the foundation even set the objective of arriving at 2015 with at least 25% of female editors and contributors. Unfortunately, that commitment, as has been shown in a second survey carried out in 2011, instead of being reached, has proved to be a hopeless failure, with the foundation itself detecting that the percentage of female participation had fallen off to a very disturbing 8.5%.
The under-representation of female editors, at 9% in 2012, is true for all language versions of Wikipedia, including Catalonia's Viquipèdia., and that is why something must be done about
this situation here. Action is already under way.
Last summer, 'Wikidones' got off the ground, a pioneering initiative promoted by the Centre de Cultura de Dones Francesca Bonnemaison along with Amical, Wikimedia and Eduxarxa and supported by the women's civil rights department of the Barcelona City Council . This collective aims to involve women in creating and revising content in Wikipedia from a female perspective: “We want to create not only factual content relating to women, but also to bring to the forefront those women who are not well known or have not been fully understood,” explains coordinator Marta Nieto.
In the first phase, before year's end, Wikidones aims to promote the creation of four working groups: history, film, art and design, and science and technology. Each group is assisted by experts from the field in question who work alongside women who will produce at least one contribution each with a gender of feminist perspective.
There are up to now, more than sixty participants, who with the help of mentors, have written a dozen articles (new entries such as Beguines, Margarita Comas Camps, troubadours and so forth) and who have also revised and altered many existing articles and entries.
Nixie, the new 'bracelet drone'
At the beginning of November the Intel chips company of California [intel.com] presented its awards for a competition called Make It Weareable [makeit.intel.com]. Top of the list of prize-winning proposals and inventions [makeit.intel.com/finalists] was a device that could be defined as a simple flying GoPro camera [gopro.com] that can be worn on the wrist as a bracelet.
The invention is called Nixie [flynixie.com] and has been developed by a group of German and American engineers. The first portable camera that turns into a drone can take remote pictures and videos, in this age of the “selfie”, controlled in ambulatory fashion.
The prototype of Nixie [youtu.be/_VFsdPAoI1g] which was created just ten days before the competition entry deadline closed, works in two modes: boomerang mode (the drone flies off, captures the image and returns) and the tracking mode (some distance from the person controlling the device who uses a phone connection to record the video and images).
The Make It Wearable winning team Nixie walked away with half a million dollars. The photographic drone beat off nine other finalists [makeit.intel.com/finalists], among which there were all sorts of gadgets for functions developed by Germans, British, Americans, Poles , Chilean, Chinese ... and Catalan research teams.
Catalonia's entry came from FirstV1sion [www.firstv1sion. as] and was one of the projects highlighted by Intel; it is a linked in sport's shirt designed in Barcelona [twitter.com/FirstV1sion] and is used especially for broadcasting in sports events.