Throughout the Smithsonian’s nearly 175-year history, women have worked in the sciences, paving the way for future generations at the Institution and in their fields. The stories of these American women can inform and inspire, but only if you can find them. Join our #BecauseOfHerStory effort to improve representation on Wikipedia of these Smithsonian groundbreakers, who have been trailblazers in various disciplines, from astrophysics to zoology.
The Smithsonian Institution Archives and the American Women’s History Initiative will host a virtual Wikipedia edit-a-thon on Monday, August 31, 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM EDT. You can sign up for the edit-a-thon here.
At the event, we’ll share stories about women, like the first woman curator at the Smithsonian, Mary Jane Rathbun, and feather detective Roxie Collie Laybourne, who created the field of forensic ornithology. We’ll help participants work with digitized historical records about women in science found on the Smithsonian Institution Archives website. And we’ll provide a training, during which attendees of all experience levels will learn the basics of how to edit by updating Wikipedia articles related to the history of women in science at the Smithsonian in connection with the Funk List. Researchers at the Smithsonian Institution Archives have compiled the Funk List to create a comprehensive list of the past and present women in science at the Smithsonian. At the edit-a-thon next week, we’ll be improving existing Wikipedia pages for over forty women in science included on the Funk List. You can find a list here.
Each time we add information about the history of women in science, we’re helping to narrow the gender gap on Wikipedia. According to Wikipedian Kelly Doyle, who works as the Open Knowledge Coordinator for the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative, less than nineteen percent of Wikipedia biographies in English represent women, and less than ten percent of Wikipedia editors identify as women. Combatting this gender gap is critical, because Wikipedia is one of the most visited websites in the world.
We hope you’ll join us at the edit-a-thon!