From 16-22 Sept I had a survey open, and I posted a link to it here, in some observation comments, and on Twitter under the iNaturalist hashtag. There were 202 responses. It was all inspired by this post, “Why is iNat male-dominated?” (I also posted a link in that thread but it wasn’t at the top so I don’t know how much it actually got clicked.)
TL;DR: iNat is not male-dominated. Men do observe and ID a lot more, though.
Gonna start by saying that this survey was very amateur, very unscience, etc. There will be biases! So many of them! This entire post is just wild speculation. One person pointed out in a forum thread that they’d heard women were more likely to fill in surveys, and another person pointed out in the feedback box that as a woman they’d been warned to avoid the forums as a place more hostile to women. So maybe those two biases cancel out, who knows.
What we do know is, these results are going to be mostly representative of people who use the forums, which is only a small proportion of iNat action.
Anyway. Here’s how the gender stuff broke down:
In previous surveys like this I’ve mostly found about 7% of participants are nonbinary, so this is not far off standard, I think?
Here’s how the ages break down by gender:
As you can see, “nonbinary” is a small enough sample that it can’t really be reliable. :D But women tended to be older on average than men. The shape of the age distribution is pretty representative of internet users in general, in my experience, but also it’s flatter. Other sites tend to have a much sharper high around 20-30ish, which means iNat is generally a bit older. If you’re curious you can google for age demographics for various websites like Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Reddit, etc etc.
Men observe and identify significantly more than women, but also more than one woman said (in the feedback box and in the various forum posts) that they (or women in general) tend to have full time jobs and childcare/family responsibilities. It’s pretty well-known that women do a heck of a lot more unpaid/invisible labour and therefore have less free time, so it makes sense to me that women would in general be using iNat less than men.
I liked that nonbinary people have a masculine number of IDs and a feminine number of observations. :D
I guess it’s even more speculatey than the average for this “”“report”"", but from this it seems to be possible to hazard a guess that women don’t stick around for as long as men. But women still filled in the survey as much as men! If anything, it could mean that more women join iNaturalist, in order for them to leave more often and also be equal in number to (or at least not significantly fewer in number than) men. (Again, the nonbinary sample is way too small to be reliable.)
And finally, a potential explanation!!! Men are a lot (11%) more likely to have their name in their avatar, and faces in avatars is less common across the board but men are also way more (13%) likely to have their faces in their avatars. (In retrospect I wish I had specified first name, because since then I’ve noticed plenty of people with ABSurname as usernames, for example, and those names do contain names but are impossible to casually gender.)
So there you have it. You think there are more men because there are more “out” men. Women hide their genders online to avoid online sexism, which is generally known online anyway but was also mentioned in the forum topics here - one person said they hid their gender because they didn’t want people to question their IDs as much, for example.
Anyway, I hope this has been interesting. :) If you would like to play with the numbers yourself, please feel free to check out
the Google Sheet of responses and all the weird queries I made to go with it. I’m sure there were other ways I wanted to compare all the answers to each other but I just forgot, so if you do decide to File > Make a copy and do something with it, post some info and pics here so we can all go “oooooo”.
Thanks everyone for your participation!
Edit: Folks are assuming I’m a man in the replies, probably because of my avatar, so I just wanted to mention that I’m nonbinary and my pronouns are they/them. He/him pronouns are less objectionable to me than she/her but both are incorrect. :) Thanks!
Edit: I’m going to make the spreadsheet private, because someone said that the number of IDs and observations mean that people could be identified (and their genders and ages extracted)! Sorry about that!