On Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 10:59 AM, Heather Walls <hwalls@wikimedia.org> wrote:

On Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 10:48 AM, Carol Moore DC <carolmooredc@verizon.net> wrote:
On 6/28/2013 5:09 AM, Lennart Guldbrandsson wrote:
On a wiki meetup in Gothenburg (where there for some unexplained reason are always more women present than at the ones in Stockholm - different women, not just the same), I mentioned the gendergap issue to one of the female newcomers. She was not interested at all in the issue, since she felt that her edits should stand on their own merit, not be based on her gender. (Which made me feel like a creep for bringing the issue up.)

I don't really understand how "merit of edits" is necessarily connected to issues of the gender gap (they aren't to me). Is there a way to frame speaking of this that helps assuage that? Perhaps I'm missing something.

Heather, let me take a crack at this, because I think it's a really imporant issue to keep in mind.

When this list started (and since), I have reached out to a number of women encouraging them to join. Some have and some haven't, but there's a pretty common view that I believe is greatly under-represented on this list -- some of these people have subscribed, but of those who did, I think it's safe to say that *none* participate in the discussion.

Several women (including my longest-standing Wikipedia colleague, with about 100,000 edits to date; two WMF board members, a close work colleague, and my mother) responded to the emergence of this list as follows. (I hope I've reflected this accurately; I've BCC'd these individuals to invite feedback in case I've gotten it wrong.)
  • While the gender gap on Wikipedia is a significant problem, it is better regarded as a *symptom* of an environment that is not welcoming in general, than as a distinct problem in itself. The gender gap is best addressed by advancing the general health of our community, rather than trying to target gender issues specifically.
  • Individual responsibility is an important component, and not everything that appears gender-driven is actually gender-driven. In some cases where a woman is having a bad experience, it results in part from her own actions. Being called a victim-blamer is not appealing, so staying away from a forum like this might be the safest bet.
I find this perspective compelling, and sometimes find myself concerned at how little we hear from/about it on this list. I think it is a somewhat nuanced position that often gets summarized in ways that are incomplete; "letting my editing stand on its own merit" is, I think, a summary of the second bullet point.