Look up a female scientist or technologist on Wikipedia, and you might not find what you're looking for. Many don't have detailed pages or any page at all on the free online encyclopedia created by contributors, the vast majority of them men. It's a symptom of a larger problem for women in so-called STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—where men far outnumber women. Now, Brown University biology professor Anne Fausto-Sterling and alumna Maia Weinstock hope to help chip away at the problem with a Wikipedia "edit-a-thon."
They gathered dozens of students and some faculty members this week at Brown to train them on how to add and edit pages. They also provided lists of suggestions for women to add, entries to clean up, or those who needed more detail, along with links to source material. Among those listed was Ingeborg Hochmair, who does not have a page even though last month she won the prestigious Lasker Award for medical research for her work developing the modern cochlear implant. By contrast, her husband, Erwin Hochmair, an accomplished engineer who helped develop the device but did not win a Lasker prize, has his own page.