Gender imbalance and Wikipedia – Visual Atlas

You can’t escape from gender declares Uta Brandes, founder of the international Gender Design Network (iGDN) and professor at KISD. Gender is recognized as the first and most important social construction process in human life. It shapes the individual identity and the relational network in its complexity. Throughout history, social studies, cultures, advertisements, mass media and other forms of visual artifacts have not only been influenced by gender stereotypes but have also been deeply influential in the process of shaping perception about gender. Not so far, social norms and common sense have persuaded designers and image-makers to hand the responsibility of achieving informed choices about portraying men and women in a sensitive and balanced way. In this study, the aim is to undertake an exploration into the relationship between gender bias and Wikipedia, and attempt to understand how the information flux can be biased in multilingual collaborative source of human knowledge. According to the goal, the complementary research has been switched in two parts: one side comprehends a volume about the theoretical assumptions, the context analysis, the case-studies and the detailed project description; the other side concerns a narrative exploration composed by the set of visualizations, the resulting observations and the applied methodologies. The conceptualization of digital social research provides a multidimensional perspective that goes beyond the evolving cultural change and societal conditions related to the Web and its implications. Analyzing through digital methods involves seeking to learn from an existing method related to the dominant devices online, and redesigning them to achieve a cultural and social research. The goal is to mix info-web and social web. reorganizing contents and repurposing an assembling device techniques. The general protocol starts taking all the outset of the natively digital contents available about a specific topic or goal, as links, threads, tags, and observing how devices, such search engines or platforms, deal with them. This approach taken in the digital social research can be also referred to the examination of Wikipediain terms of temporal variation, semantic dimension, relational networking and controversial issues. The development of this study means the exam of a specific topic which is shared in many version as well a singular one, considering the neutral point of view perspective and the implicit consensus-building process, not always held by contributors. The comparisons across language versions in Wikipedia are structured on a form of web content analysis which highlight on basic elements involved in the article: as its title, table of contents (TOC), images and references (Rogers et Sendijarevic, 2012). At the end, a final observation attempts to consider the results gained and compared to the research questions keeping in mind the socio-cultural diversity people live in.

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