Women’s national teams are under represented on English Wikipedia compared to men’s teams

Women’s national teams are under represented on English Wikipedia compared to men’s teams.  Of the 260 countries that have one or more national team articles about a country, 36 countries have zero articles about women. 78 countries have 75% to 99% of their articles about men’s national teams.  That accounts for 43% of all countries.

To be fair, some sports have more of an international appeal than others.  Floorball is mostly European.  Handball is European and African.  Netball and cricket are played in Commonwealth countries.  Baseball and softball are more popular in Oceania, Asia and the Americas. Kabaddi is played in Asia.  Some sports are not gender segregated or include requirements for both men and women on the field.  Some national teams are for individual sportspeople, and may include all men, all women or both.  This includes sports like swimming, athletics, badminton, and skiing.  The total number of available sports from country to country is thus unlikely to be equal. At the same time, some sports with national teams and world championships do not have articles about national teams.  Think underwater hockey.

Complicating this analysis, there is the issue that for many countries, there are likely to be more men’s teams than women’s teams for cultural reasons.  Some countries have historically held back against supporting women and their right to participate in sport.  In at least one country, there is a fatwa prohibiting women from participating in soccer.  Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries have historically been opposed to women playing sport.  Some countries have limited resources and opt to spend money on men’s teams instead of women’s teams.  Getting an accurate percentage of men’s versus women’s national teams in the real world is probably near impossible.

In any case, the percentage of women’s national teams articles is low compared to men’s national team articles and the problem is more acute for some countries than others.  The United States has 62 national team articles, 31 for men and 31 for women.  In contrast, Spain has 40 national team articles, 26 for men and 14 for women.

If you’re working on developing content about women’s national teams,

Arabian Gulf, Bonaire, Falkland Islands, Federated Malay States, Federated States of Micronesia, Gibraltar, Guernsey, Female, Isle of Man, Jersey, Kiribati, Kosovo, Leeward Islands, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mayotte, Monaco, Nauru, Niue, Norfolk Island, North Vietnam, Rhodesia, Saint Helena, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint-Martin, Serbia and Montenegro, South Vietnam, South Yemen, Straits Settlements, Taiwan, Tokelau, Virgin Islands, Wallis and Futuna, West Germany, West Papua, Windward Islands is the list of countries  with zero articles about women’s national teams but articles about men’s national teams.

Countries with 75% to 99% of their national team articles about men’s teams include

Costa Rica, Djibouti, Lithuania, Mauritania, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Peru, Rwanda, Senegal, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, West Indies, Iran, Yugoslavia, Chile, El Salvador, Mali, Mauritius, United States Virgin Islands, Uzbekistan, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Burundi, Cyprus, Estonia, Gambia, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Tuvalu, Cameroon, Iraq, Brunei, Jordan, Malta, Syria, Vanuatu, Israel, American Samoa, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Macau, Sierra Leone, Oman , New Caledonia, Pakistan, Laos, Libya, Maldives , San Marino, Timor-Leste, Togo, British Virgin Islands, Gabon, Palestine, Yemen, Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Andorra, Cambodia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Ghana, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar.  Working on creating articles about these countries would also be good.

In some cases, there is a real challenge because as mentioned earlier, many of these countries may not actually have many women’s national teams.  This does not necessarily need to be an impediment.  If there is a large discussion in the media about the team not existing, then the non-existent team may be notable.  This was the case for the Saudi Arabia women’s national football team.  These types of articles can be good because they can bring attention to the plight of women from a feminist perspective.



  1. Pingback: Wikipedia’s selective gendering of national team article names | Laura Hale, Wikinews reporter

  2. Pingback: Wikipedia audience interest and the legitimacy of preferencing working on articles about men | Laura Hale, Wikinews reporter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s