Scientist Creates 1600 Wikipedia Entry For Women In STEM

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It’s no secret that STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is a male-dominated field. Over the years, educators and scientists have been working to open doors for girls and young women to study STEM fields. No one’s quite exemplified this effort better than Dr. Jessica Wade.

Jessica Wade Uses Wikipedia To Honor Women In STEM

Dr. Jessica Wade is a 33-year-old London-based physicist who’s spent years advocating for women in STEM. According to American Association of University WomenWomen make up just 28 percent in STEM jobs in the United States. As it stands, women make up only 1 in 5 computer science or engineering majors. Also, the average salary for women in STEM is only $60,000 per annum, compared to $85,000 for males.

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Because they’re so underrepresented, plenty of women who’ve made meaningful contributions to science have gone unnoticed. Wade is working to change this. Wade began writing Wikipedia biographies on women and minority scientists in her 20s. They never received the recognition they deserved.

It turned out that this was no easy task. A few scattered entries quickly climbed up into the hundreds and then eventually to the thousands. She’s since dedicated herself to promoting gender equality in STEM and has gained international recognition for her work.

While Wade has since achieved numerous accolades and was even honored by Queen Elizabeth, the world of Wikipedia contributors didn’t immediately accept her with open arms. High-ranking Wikipedia editors deleted several of Wade’s entries.

Their excuse was that many of the women Wade wrote about weren’t well-known enough to have their own dedicated page. Wade claimed that this was precisely what caused the problem. Wade said that these women should be credited for their contributions. shouldMake yourself more known.

Wade had to fight to keep Clarice Phelps on Wikipedia. An African-American nuclear scientist, Phelps was part of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory team that discovered a new component to the periodic table. Wade would publish Phelps’ biography, only for editors to delete it. This repeated several times until Wade finally won. Now, readers will be able to read about Phelps’ impressive career for years to come.

Of course, Wade’s advocacy work has expanded well-beyond Wikipedia entries. Today, along with her work as a doctoral research fellow at London’s Imperial College, she helps develop programs to make STEM more accessible to young women and people of color.

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“I genuinely believe that science is better when it’s done by diverse teams,” She explained that according to Today. “Even if you don’t care about any of that, the world desperately needs more scientists and engineers… Science can help solve the world’s biggest challenges—climate change, antibiotic resistance, emerging pandemic-inducing viruses.”

Thankfully, there’s no shortage of recognition for Wade’s important work!

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