Exploring gender linguistic bias in the overview of Wikipedia biographies.

Discover More

Did you know...

With more than 9 billion visits per month over the last year, English Wikipedia is one of the main sources of information, so its articles can shape and influence the way people think.

Is there a difference in the way people describe men and women?

In an ideal world, people should be described neutrally, in an objective way and without stereotypes. However, historically, women have been described mainly by their physical appearance and have been usually related to their family role, whereas men have been related to their careers. Is this thought present in Wikipedia’s Biographies? If it is, to what extent?

The under-representation of women in Wikipedia

Did you know that only 17% out of more than 1.4 million biographies in Wikipedia belongs to women? Surprised? So were we!

Most biographies belong to recognized people in their fields. There is a huge variety of occupations, ranging from very general descriptions like ‘writer’ or ‘athlete’ to more detailed ones such as ‘midfielder’ for footballers or ‘songwriter’. All these occupations can be grouped into 10 different fields of occupations.

Insights on occupations in Wikipedia:


Only one field of occupation has a higher female presence than males: models. This field represents those occupations related to the mode industry, mainly being models.

Military and Religion

The fields with higher disparity are Military and Religion, two fields of occupation where powerful positions have been historically reserved to men. If you think about it, this result may be deceiving but not surprising at all. Let’s do the test: in five seconds, how many military names can you come up with?[...] How many of them are women? [...] Well, here is your answer.


Among the most represented fields, Artist is the one with more parity with a ratio of 2.7 men for each woman described.

So far, we have seen that Wikipedia is different in terms of numbers for men and women, but is this platform different in terms of contents as well?