A volunteer at the Smithsonian Archives has made it her mission to put female scientists back where they belong: the kitchen. Just kidding — she's putting them back in annals of history, via Wikipedia.
As Adrian Chen noted last year, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has spoken publicly of the need for female writers to opine on subjects dumb boys don't know no nothin' about: issues surrounding early childcare, famous women other than Angelina Jolie, and other miscellaneous lady business.
A survey conducted in 2011 estimated that less than 9% of Wikipedia article editors are women.
Now Sarah Stierch, the Smithsonian Archives' "Wikipedian-in-Residence" is looking to boost women's visibility both on the pages and behind the scenes of the online encyclopedia.
To that end, Stierch hosted the fabulously-named "She Blinded Me with Science: Smithsonian Women in Science Edit-a-Thon" at the Archives last Friday. Editors were invited to come make use of the Archives' collections (almost certainly more reliable than Yahoo! Answers) to write baller, non-stub articles about women in science. Ten of them worked for four hours and afterwards there was a happy hour, which sounds fun.
Stierch has been coordinating similar events across the country for some time, living every day like it's Anna Howard Shaw Day.
As you might expect, one of the biggest hurdles to getting articles about female scientists other than Marie Curie up on Wikipedia is a force that plagues each one of us every single day: HATERS.
In this case, the haters are users who nominate articles for deletion on the grounds their subjects are not notable enough. The articles produced at Friday's Edit-a-Thon suffered multiple such nominations, though, as Stierch pointed out, "If you're in the Smithsonian Archives, you're notable."
To the left.
In case you want to school yourself on a lady-scientist, or tackle one of the articles the Smithsonian crew didn't get to, here's the list they were working from.