In the name of gender equality, students and faculty at Brown University in Providence, R.I., will host a Wikipedia "Edit-a-Thon" next week to add and improve entries about prominent female figures in science and technology.
Volunteers will create new Wikipedia pages and edit existing ones in order to increase the representation of women on the popular reference website. Maia Weinstock, one of the event's organizers, said many women are not properly recognized or cited on Wikipedia pages because authors are oftentimes unaware of their contributions, reported The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Wikipedia has more than 4.3 million articles in English posted on its site, but a 2010 study conducted by the Wikimedia Foundation found that only about 13 percent of women make up its contributor base, according to the New York Times. Weinstock calls this an "unintentional slant," but hopes the Edit-a-Thon will help draw attention to the scientific and technological achievements of women.
The five-and-a-half hour editing party will be held on Oct. 15, coinciding with the fifth annual Ada Lovelace Day, an international event that celebrates the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and math. Lovelace was a English mathematician who wrote algorithms in the mid-19th century for Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, a mechanical predecessor to the computer. Because of her groundbreaking work, Lovelace is commonly recognized as the world's first computer programmer.