Seminar: But Is She Married? Gender Bias and Users' Gendered Interest in Politicians on Wikipedia - Theresa Gessler (University of Zurich)
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Date: 3 June, 2020
14:00-15:00 - Connected_Politics Seminar: Shares and engagement on Wikipedia
Abstract: As citizens increasingly rely on online sources to inform themselves about politics, detecting the extent and effect of bias in this sphere grows more important. The talk presents (i) an assessment of the extent and character of gender bias in information about politicians on Wikipedia (ii) an analysis how this affects users' information-seeking. We contribute to research that analyzes how stereotypes come to shape assessments by addressing how citizens seek information about politicians and what is the inferential role of gender in this process. Specifically, we argue that due to gendered cues in information about politicians, voters' information-seeking reinforces rather than overcomes gender stereotypes as voters seek information that aligns with pre-existing stereotypes about female politicians. Methodologically, the talk presents data on gender bias in the political sphere on the Wikipedia online encyclopedia and a new approach to the study of perceptions of politicians exploiting large amounts of digital trace data. Substantively, we show that wikipedia users search for more information about female politicians, however, their interest is centered on family and personal life, rather than policy positions of these politicians.