Wikipedia is the first to admit that they have some big sex and diversity gaps. In 2011 only 10% of wiki contributors were female and in 2018 only 17% of entries are about women. Wikipedia acknowledges that systemic biases have led to the under-representation of women, minorities, and other demographic groups. Biographies of living persons, notably females, are being deleted.
Case in point, Clarice Phelps was the first black woman to help discover an element. That wasn’t enough for some Wiki Editors. On February 11, 2019, in the middle of US Black History Month, on International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Phelps’s page was deleted.
Phelps’ entry was created in September 2018 by Dr Jess Wade. A postdoctoral researcher in physics. As a side-project, Jess has been working to combat the under-representation of female scientists on Wikipedia.
She tries to write one new biography per day and is an inspiration.
Back in 2018, The Peoples Hub and Zebra Partnership joined forces with Digital Science and a handful of organisations to host a communal wiki update on 8-9 October 2018 for Ada Lovelace Day. To improve the coverage of women and diversity on Wikipedia.
The Pankhurst Centre in Manchester kindly agreed to be our Ada's Army hub on 9th October 2018. Hubs worldwide connected and joined forces for the communal updating of Wikipedia. Entries on subjects related to women and diversity in science, technology, art, business and more. London, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Milton Keynes and Stockport in the UK to New Zealand, Germany, USA, Dubai and India.
Huge ‘Thank You’ to Katy Alexander and her team at Digital Science for coordinating this in 2018.
In 2019, co-Founder of Wiki Women In Red and Global Wiki Equality Advocate, Roger Bamkin and Information and knowledge expert, Dr Marianne Bamkin joined us to co-host. A new London hub at Ada National College for Digital Skills which worked perfectly for Ada Lovelace Day.
Our intern, Andrea Zapachova, from the beautiful country of Slovakia, was fortunate to take part in the Adas Army Wikiediathon and is now a Wiki Editor. Andrea also co-managed The People’s Hub, International Womens Day 2020 Wikieditathon event in Aalborg.
The number of pages 19.324% 26th September 2022 (source: Wiki Women in Red) is a long way to go. However this equates to now over 16,000 pages of notable women. Which is encouraging.
Written by David B. Grinberg – Washington, USA - ex White House, PR consultant, literary agent on workplace diversity, race and sex equity, social justice issues