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Adding Women in Science to Wikipedia

Sophie Lutterlough wears a lab coat and sits in front of a microscope in the Department of Entomology at the National Museum of Natural History.

Sophie Lutterlough at a microscope, 1983. Smithsonian Institution Archives.

How can we ensure more people learn about the unsung achievements of American women in science? On Thursday, June 25, 2020, we hosted a Wikipedia/Wikimedia editing and training session to increase the representation of women. During the event, 68 volunteers added 4,080 words to Wikipedia about women in science. Volunteers added and expanded articles about women including Annette Aiello, an American zoologist, botanical entomologist, and professor.

You too can help make sure women's history is accurate and accessible. Watch the recorded event to learn how to edit Wikipedia, discover important female figures in the history of science, and help spread the word about these notable women. The training is geared for beginners and experienced editors alike.

"Less than 19% of Wikipedia biographies in English represent women, according to the organization Wiki Women in Red," said Kelly Doyle, open knowledge coordinator for the Smithsonian American Women's History Initiative. "Women's stories have been silenced on Wikipedia in much the same way they have in our world."

Image of Lutterlough and the text "Wikipedia & Women in Science / Join us to learn how to contribute to Wikipedia and increase the number of women in science repesented on Wikipedia."
Sophie Lutterlough (pictured) worked as a research assistant to insect curator Ralph Crabill at our National Museum of Natural History. With Dr. Crabill, she discovered about 40 type specimens (which define a species) mixed into the general collection.

Watching the workshop, you will hear from Dr. Warren Wagner, a botanist at the National Museum of Natural History and Dr. Elizabeth Harmon, a digital curator at our Smithsonian Institution Archives. Together, Dr. Harmon and other Smithsonian scientists and researchers have complied a list of more than 400 women in science who have not been fully recognized on Wikipedia. These women represent "female firsts and seconds" in their various disciplines, from astrophysics to zoology.

"Women have played a much larger role at the Smithsonian than we've recognized," said Dr. Harmon. "We often assume women were not allowed to be scientists at all in the 19th century. That's just not true! Women were getting Ph.D.s and working in the sciences in the 19th century."

Watch the workshop to learn more and start editing!

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