On Tue, Jul 31, 2012 at 9:57 AM, Ryan Kaldari <rkaldari@wikimedia.org> wrote:
On 7/30/12 2:14 PM, Laura Hale wrote:
Did you hear any stories about how Patrick Mills left the NBA early in order to spend more time training with the national team in order to try to get gold?  No.  Of course not. The men are not expected to win gold.  They don't want to hold early training camps.  No one expects them to win even medal.  The Australian question should be: Why are we even bothering to send the men?   They should sit home.  The Australian media largely does not care about them.

<sarcasm>Of course they have to send the men! They're the ones that really count. And why aren't the women wearing skirts like they're supposed to!</sarcasm>

No, they do not have to send the men.  I would bet there will be a real discussion in the sporting community here about this behind the scenes.  There are different local conditions that impact national priorities for sport.  The USA men's and women's teams continue on with their sport until the very last minute and for the major sport, they spend very little time in training camp as a team.  The Australian women were in training months before the start of the Olympics.  Team USA women's were busy playing their WNBA season and, based on their tweets and reading USA media coverage, no one was concerned about the WNBA season impacting on their medal chances: it didn't feel like a national priority.

Winning is very important on some level in Australian sport... especially since the government funds this.  If the USA is third in the medal count, will the USA politicians in the USA House and Sentate and the USA president talk about the need to invest in top level sport?  Talk about how the federal government needs to invest money into sport to increase the USA's Olympic performance?  I would be willing to put good money on it that they will not.  The US Olympic Committee was created by federal statue but relies primarily on sponsors and doesn't get government funding on the national level.

The narrative you're suggesting here is not reality.  (And why would we want them in skirts? We have netball for skirts.  Netball is an all women's sport, which has been locked out of the Olympics alongside softball.  Softball has a parallel men's competition, but in order to even begin to look at Olympic inclusion again, it needed to marry itself to baseball.  Meanwhile, men's softball really gets short shrift.  And introducing the real and systematic bias that exists against women sport and non-USA/European sport as demonstrated by selection of sport becomes POV pushing on Wikipedia, no matter the number of sources that can be provided by credible sources.)


The bigger Australian gender stories are actually Michelle Jenneke's butt jiggle, (which ironically, the USA paid more attention to then Australia) and Leisel Jones fat story, which was a very deliberate story on the part of the Australian media. Media watch shows how this story was crafted: http://www.abc.net.au/mediawatch/transcripts/s3556770.htm/

Reminds me of the U.S. obsession with the appearance of female politicians, e.g. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Articles_for_deletion/Michelle_Obama%27s_arms

Wikipedia has problems.  Real growth for women's participation on Wikipedia won't come from improving articles about feminist topics, but in articles about popular culture and sport.  Sadly, there is a bias against such content on Wikipedia because it detracts from the serious nature of Wikipedia.

That said, Wikipedia's main page has generally been dominated by female Olympians instead of male Olympians on Did You Know.  If you want to submit for DYK about women, I highly urge you to.  It is one of the best ways to highlight topics that might otherwise get overlooked because of systematic bias.

Thanks for the tip. I did a couple of female athlete articles recently, but forgot to DYK them :(

DYK is probably the best tool for addressing bias on Wikipedia by highlighting new, quality content on Wikipedia.

There are plenty of female medalists that do not have articles.  There are plenty of articles about African women at the Olympics that don't have articles.  It would be great to see some of these worked on.  There are still DYK slots available for the Olympics and if people want to nominate something, I'm happy to help by either assisting with the nomination or by reviewing an article.

If you want to help with another group that faces systematic bias in general and on Wikipedia specifically, I urge you to work on articles about Paralympic athletes and to take those to DYK for the special prep area that will run during the Games.  There are many Wikipedians with disabilities of various kinds, which makes improving these articles all the more important. 

Laura Hale

twitter: purplepopple
blog: ozziesport.com