Watchdog: Accountability

US science group to study sexism at one of the most popular websites in the world

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Wikipedia may be sexist — and the government is on the case.

The National Science Foundation is spending more than $200,000 to find out why the online encyclopedia is sexist, according to a grant abstract:

"... [A]n emerging body of research indicates that Wikipedia suffers from systematic gender bias with respect to both contributors and content. How and why is this bias produced?"

NSF gave the two grants for collaborative research to professors at Yale and New York universities to study "systematic gender bias," according to Elizabeth Harrington of the Washington Free Beacon.

“Wikipedia was launched in 2001 and has since become the world’s single most important reference tool and information clearinghouse,” the NSF said.

“Unlike traditional encyclopedias, which are controlled by experts, Wikipedia was supposed to have democratized knowledge. ... How and why is this bias produced?," the NSF said.

Julia Adams, a sociology professor at Yale, received a $132,000 grant; Hannah Brueckner, the associate dean of social sciences at NYU Abu Dhabi, received $70,000, the Free Beacon reported.

The research will seek to extend other efforts to address online gender bias, like that of Deanna Zandt, a "media technologist" who gives speeches encouraging women to edit Wikipedia, according to Harrington.

Zandt claims Wikipedia is biased because the majority of its editors are "young, white, child-free men."

Read the full Washington Free Beacon article here.

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Kelly Cohen

Staff Writer
The Washington Examiner

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