Actress Anna May Wong became an international fashion icon and leading lady, fighting stereotypes in Hollywood on every step of the way.
Australia’s first female electrical engineer, Florence Violet McKenzie, taught signaling skills to over 12,000 servicemen and founded the Women’s Royal Australian Naval Service.
Barbara McClintock’s contributions to genetics earned her the only unshared Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for any woman.
Wikipedia tells the stories of so many fascinating and inspirational women, but we still have a long way to go. Women only make up 17% of biographies on the world’s largest encyclopedia—despite the heroic efforts of multiple editors and projects. Medical student Emily Temple-Wood, co-recipient of last year’s Wikipedian of the Year Award, made headlines by creating an article about a female scientist every time she is harassed online. Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight, who shared that award with Temple-Wood, helped found Women in Red, a project dedicated to turning “red links” blue by creating articles for women without them. Those blue links now lead to 37,000 articles about women that weren’t there before.
We want to make a difference, too, and we need your help. In March, we are featuring articles about women such as Anna May Wong, Florence Violet McKenzie, and Barbara McClintock on our Facebook page with an “I (love) Women’s History” frame. We are promoting that frame on Facebook to women. Here’s why:
Our Facebook followers are just 30% women. That is better than some other parts of the Wikimedia movement, but not good enough—and we need your help to change that. Please share posts from us on Facebook of a pioneering scientist, decorated war hero, paradigm-busting educator, or social activist with the “I (love) Women’s History” frame, and we would be honored if you put the frame on your own profile picture in March, which is Women’s History Month and contains International Women’s Day. At the end of the month, we will let you know how many new women followers we have gained on our page.
Why does this matter? We tell stories on Facebook every day—of editors like Temple-Wood, and of pioneers like her hero, Barbara McClintock. “She was unapologetically passionate about corn,” Emily told us, “an incredible mentor to other women, and was unapologetic about who she was and what she did.” We want to reach more women to change our own gender gap and the very public conversations that take place on our social media channels every day. To do that, we need great article subjects, devoted editors, and readers. We need Emily Temple-Wood, Barbara McClintock, and you.
WikiProject Women in Red has been moving the needle on Wikipedia’s gender gap for years, Stephenson-Goodknight says. “In support of Women’s History Month, Women in Red is busy creating, improving, and promoting women’s biographies and articles about women’s work, hoping to exceed our record of 839 articles in 2016.”
There are many ways to join a thriving community of researchers and editors working to close the gender gap on Wikipedia.
How can you get involved?
- Become an editor! Check out WikiProject “Women in Red” to find articles you can create on your own, and stubs you can improve upon. You can learn how to edit Wikipedia with an interactive game or a written tutorial.
- Art + Feminism is set to host several edit-a-thons encouraging new articles on feminism, women’s history, and the arts.
- Let us know a remarkable woman you’d like to see featured on our Facebook page by leaving a comment on one of our #womenshistorymonth posts with a link to the Wikipedia article.
- Tell the world you support women’s history by using our picture frame on your Facebook profile picture!
Aubrie Johnson, Social Media Associate
Image credits: Photo of Aubrie Johnson, CC BY-SA 4.0; Wikipedia logo, public domain (see visual identity guidelines); Photo of Anna May Wong by Paramount, public domain.
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