++Addition++Writing in April 2011, I've added the results from Pew's March 2011 News IQ quiz. Same old, same old.
Steve links to a NYT article that is almost beyond parody where it is suggested that misogyny is behind the gender imbalance in Wikipedia contributions (in terms of content, though I suspect also in terms of financial donations). A commenter does a great job of capturing my sentiments:
Years ago I largely abandoned TV for the Web. The only people who end up discussing politics here are the ones who're actually interested in it, so naturally most discussions are dominated by men. On the rare occasions when I watch TV nowadays, I am shocked by the proliferation of women pretending to pontificate on male subjects there. Not just politics - sports, and even technology. Gadgets, for God's sakes! Years ago I was so used to this phoniness that it seemed natural, but it doesn't anymore. You'd see a 5-member panel discussing the Tea Party on CNN and 3 of the pundits would be women. It cracks me up.Of course the major media will not touch biological explanations, namely that men are relatively expendable and can afford to pontificate on the most desirable outcome for Egypt, while women have a greater stake in tending to their offspring and thus are drawn to things close to home and away from things a world away (virtually, heh). If the NYT needs evidence for as much, its writers need only to visit the Pew Research Center. Pew frequently conducts "News IQ" surveys, randomly quizzing 1,000 people on current events. The most recent results are from November 2010. As is always the case, men outperformed women by more than a full point on the 12-item test. The average number of questions answered correctly, by sex, since Pew began conducting the surveys nearly four years ago:
* Pew did not break out the average number of questions answered correctly by sex in the first of its political IQ quizzes conducted in April 2007, but did classify demographic groups into three knowledge categories--high, medium, and low. The figures listed in the table are arrived at by taking the percentage of each sex listed as having high knowledge and subtracting it by the percentage with low knowledge.
Then again, the left-leaning (and consequently invaluable, as Pew is also refreshingly honest--though the results are not broken out by race, as even Pew is not that honest) Research Center's telephone interviewers could be sexists intentionally trying to confuse female respondents while guiding male respondents to the correct answers. Or, even more problematically, the entire structure of the Western media establishment could have an incorrigible bias that delivers information in a way that interests men but bores women. Undoubtedly there are misogynists infesting not just Wikipedia, but every organ of the major media in the US! Parenthetically, it is worthwhile for readers to have perspective regarding their own levels of knowledge compared to that of the general population.
Take a minute to complete the quiz. I got all 12 questions correct (although the TARP one was admittedly a reasoned guess), and I suspect most regular readers will be in the same neighborhood. But the median score among those sampled is 5 of 12 questions answered correctly. And it's multiple choice, so a question or two of those five are merely the result of good luck. Most people just don't pay attention to what is going on in anything but the world immediately around them plus popular culture.