Mind the skills gap: the role of Internet know-how and gender in differentiated contributions to Wikipedia

Eszter Hargittai*, Aaron Shaw

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite the egalitarian rhetoric surrounding online cultural production, profound gender inequalities remain in who contributes to one of the most visited Web sites worldwide, Wikipedia. In analyzing this persistent disparity, previous research has focused on aspects of current contributors and the existing Wikipedia community. We draw on unique panel survey data of young adults with information about both Wikipedia contributors and non-contributors. We examine the role of people's background attributes and Internet skills in participation on the site. We find that the gender gap in editing is exacerbated by a similarly significant Internet skills gap. Our results show that the most likely contributors are high-skilled males and that among low-skilled Internet users no gender gap in Wikipedia contributions exists. Our findings suggest that efforts to understand the gender gap must also take Internet skills into account.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)424-442
Number of pages19
JournalInformation Communication and Society
Volume18
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 3 2015

Keywords

  • Internet skills
  • Wikipedia
  • digital inequality
  • gender
  • participation
  • peer production

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Library and Information Sciences

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