Join us in our Ada Lovelace celebrations by helping to improve the gender diversity of Wikipedia

Mathematician Ada Lovelace has long-been recognised as one of the first computer programmers from her involvement in work carried out in the 1800s. Since 2009, her contribution to the sciences is honoured annually with events which aim to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM), and to create new role models for girls and women. Many such events are based on Wiki edit-a-thons, where groups come together to increase the number of women editing and profiled in Wikipedia.

Did you know only 18.04% of Wikipedia biographies are about women?
Whilst this has improved from only 15% in 2014, the number or articles still falls far short of how many there could be. Through the tireless work of largely volunteer wiki-editors such as Emily Temple-Wood and Dr Jess Wade BEM, a staggering 86,182 new articles have been uploaded to create that near-3% increase. The WikiProject ‘Women in Red’ further highlights how many notable women* without a wiki biography have already been identified – although this is just the tip of the iceberg.
* binary and/or non-binary and/or other

So why does this matter?
We are still seeing gender inequality in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths and Medicine), this is further by the media . Wikipedia is the largest open-access source of information across the world; available to anyone with an internet connection, it has amazing potential in changing the stereotype of a successful scientist and inspiring young minds.

You can’t be what you can’t see
The lack of entries on women scientists on Wikipedia offers the narrative that ‘women don’t do science, or don’t do good science’, when the reality is their acheivements are being brushed under the carpet or wrongly attributed to someone else. Raising the profile of those unrecognised women scientists and their achievements can send a powerful message to its readers and achieve great impact in gender equality.

‘Women in Physiology’ Wiki Edit-A-Thon – 17 October 2019
This event focuses specifically on notable women researchers in the field of physiology, many of whom still do not have a wikipedia biography despite their significant contributions to the discipline. The event will take place as two sessions:

Session 1, 10.00 – 13.00: Talks on Women in Physiology and Gender Disparity in Wikipedia
University of Manchester, North Campus. Sackville Street Building B-Floor Entrance Hall
10.00 – 10.10: Opening statement by Prof Dame Nancy Rothwell
10.10 – 10.40: Prof. Sue Wray, University of Liverpool: ‘Women in Physiology’
10.40 – 11.20: Dr Jess Wade BEM: Gender disparity and Wikipedia
11.20 – 11.40: Dr Duncan Hull: Why Bother Editing Wikipedia?
11.40 – 11.50: Andy Mabbet: Using images in Wikipedia (tbc)
11.50 – 12.00: Closing remarks and instructions for Session 2.

12.00 – 13.00: Lunch

Session 2, 13.00 – 16.00: Wiki Edit-a-thon
University of Manchester, North Campus. Renold Building Room H1. Please bring your own laptop.

Try it yourself, experienced and non-experienced editors welcomed. You will be placed in small groups and given full guidance on how to research, create and update wiki pages. The session will be facilitated by experienced wiki-editors who will be on hand to help and answer any questions you have. Attendees will receive free Wikimedia goodies to support them to continuing editing in the future.

Posted on behalf of Sarah Mohammad-Qureshi BSc, Charter Marks’ Co-ordinator (Athena SWAN and Race Charter)/Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Advisor, The University of Manchester