Wikipedia Diversithon Review

A Wikipedia Edit-a-thon to increase visibility of women scientists and other underrepresented groups in the life sciences

On the occasion of International Women’s day, all interested parties were invited to participate in a wikipedia Diversithon coordinated by the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Leibniz Forschungsinstitut für Molekulare Pharmakologie (FMP), and Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC). 

A Diversithon is an Edit-a-thon with the aim of increasing the visibility of women scientists and other groups underrepresented in the life sciences. In Wikipedia, only 17.7% of English language biographies and 15.6% of German language biographies are about women. There is also an underrepresentation of certain ethnicities and people of colour in science.

On March 7, before the first Women’s day in Berlin, 60 people from varied backgrounds, institutes, and genders created and edited Wikipedia pages to increase the visibility of women scientists and other underrepresented groups in the life sciences.

To kick off the event we had brief introductions by all the hosts, followed by two fantastic talks. The first was given by Jess Wade, a Physics postdoc at Imperial College London and women in science campaigner. Through her fascinating and motivational message, it was clear inequality in our educational sources leads to imbalances and bias in science, and that we all benefit from increasing diversity in STEM.

After a brief coffee and networking intermission, Alice White, Wellcome Collections resident Wikimedian ran through crucial steps for editing in Wikipedia and the page possibilities. Suggestions of pages to add, edit or translate were made available thanks to the hard work of the Wikipedia WomenEdit group!

Rooms were provided for eager editors grouped by language of choice and prior experience. Each room had ample advanced helpers in any case.

We managed to add 4 brand new pages and edit 12 pages in English, and add 5 pages and rework 9 pages in German. There were collaborative groups, and people translating. Pages were added relating to pioneers in the fields of microbiology, mathematics, neuroscience, oncology, and physics just to name a few.

A huge thanks go to the guest speakers Jess Wade and Alice White, as well as the Wikipedia WomenEdit group for their mentoring and preparation. Of course it would not have been the success it was without the 60 motivated participants who got together, learned new skills, and helped to increase diversity in our worldwide educational resource Wikipedia!

For more information about the event, and for lists and instructions as to how to become Wikipedia editor yourself, head to the Wikipedia page for this diversithon. We all use Wikipedia, so why not help it grow and become more diverse!

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