A group of Australian researchers has joined forces to increase the online visibility of STEM minority groups after learning that only about 18% of Wikipedia’s 1.6 million biographies feature women.
On July 25, dozens of women from Australia’s health and medical research sectors convened at the University of Sydney for a “Wikipedia edit-a-thon,” a whirlwind event that updated or created as many Wikipedia profiles as possible highlighting the work of female scientists.
“If articles on female scientists are missing on one of the largest and most popular encyclopedias, it skews public perception of their contributions,” Dr. Melina Georgousakis, edit-a-thon event organizer and public health researcher at the University of Sydney, told ABC Australia.
“We are excited that because of this edit-a-thon more women scientists will get the recognition they deserve for their work and the role it has played in shaping society today.”
The event also trained more women to become editors and contributors on the site.
“Wikipedia editors are mainly men in North America, and, unfortunately, that impacts the representation of women,” Dr. Jessica Wade, a UK-based physicist, told ABC.
As of July 2019, Dr. Wade has personally added 670 profiles of women and other science and engineering minorities to Wikipedia’s database.
Wikipedia also launched an initiative to correct the gender gap on its platform with the Women in Red project.