'Edit-a-thon' works to fix gender imbalance for Wikipedia articles on women in science

Culture -

Brown University held a Wikipedia article editing party in honor of Ada Lovelace, the world's first programmer.

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CC BY-ND WikiCommons

Brown University

Brown University hosted a 5.5-hour long "edit-a-thon," inviting people to grab their laptops and edit Wikipedia articles, expanding the site's representation of women who made contributions to science, math and technology. Remote editing was encouraged, and participants were taught the basics of editing an article.

"It has a kind of guerilla warfare aspect to it that appeals to me…Anybody can do it, but in addition to having metaphoric value it has a real corrective value." Anne Fausto-Sterling, Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Biology and Gender Studies at Brown University

Fausto-Sterling organized the edit-a-thon with her former student Maia Weinstock, who has organized four similar events in the past. The Brown event was held on Ada Lovelace Day, which is celebrated in mid-October every year.

Dozens of participants--mostly students, but some faculty--gathered for the Wikipedia editing session Oct. 15. At the event, which organizer Weinstock called "very successful," editors worked on pages for archaeologist Bertha Parker Pallan, science historian Margaret Rossiter, and oceanographer Sylvia Earle, among others.

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