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Gender and Collaboration Networks in Online Worlds: Combining Empirical Analysis With Agent-Based Models

Fri, May 25, 9:30 to 10:45, Hilton Prague, Floor: LL, Vienna


Gender disparity is well documented in technology-related domains. Women are far less likely than men to pursue technology-related careers, and such disparity persists in online/virtual worlds, which are often touted for their potential to foster more egalitarian participation. This study attempts to better understand gender disparity in online worlds through an examination of collaboration network dynamics. It combines an empirical study using behavioral data in a large-scale virtual world with agent-based models. In so doing, we investigate the mechanisms that engender the observed gender disparity, and show that explicit gender stereotypes against women, as much as they are prevalent in some tech communities, may not be the only driver for the uneven distribution of men and women in collaborative spaces. An initial experience differential between the two groups could create gender disparity alone, and such differential may be reinforced over time by various other factors.