Let’s Bring More Indian Women Scientists on Wikipedia, Shall We?
Kalpana Chawla, an Indian American astronaut and the first woman of Indian origin in space. (Photo Courtesy: <a href="https://editor.thequint.com/story/99f23a2a-5705-4db4-9375-10486b2b0560">NASA</a>)
Kalpana Chawla, an Indian American astronaut and the first woman of Indian origin in space. (Photo Courtesy: NASA)

Let’s Bring More Indian Women Scientists on Wikipedia, Shall We?

How many Indian women in science do you know of? Do you know of botanist Janaki Ammal who was involved in research on cytogenetics and phytogeography, or Rajeshwari Chatterjee, who happened to be the first woman engineer from Karnataka?



(Screengrab when you search Indian women in science: Google)
(Screengrab when you search Indian women in science: Google)

Likewise, did you know much about Manju Sharma or Indira Nath?



(Screengrab when you search Indian women in science: Google)
(Screengrab when you search Indian women in science: Google)

Well, these women happen to be distinguished Indian women in science, and yet, the fact of the matter is that we hardly know anything about them.

If we want our girls to be interested in Science, it’s important that we celebrate these women and their achievements. And we can start by ensuring they get adequate representation on Wikipedia - the most commonly used encyclopedia of our times.

Feminism in India, Embassy of Sweden, New Delhi and Punjabi Wikimedians are hosting a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon on 'Indian Women In Science' this Saturday, on 4 March from 10 am to 5 pm at the Swedish Embassy in Chanakyapuri, New Delhi. The ‘Edit-a-thon’ will see articles on Indian women scientists, who “either have no representation on Wikipedia or have very little information available on them”, being created and edited on Wikipedia. Besides English, the articles will also be written and edited in Punjabi.

What’s the Point of This?

There is a systemic gender bias on Wikipedia because of factors such as access to technology, etc in India.

We are all aware of the large reach and popularity of Wikipedia. However, what most people don’t know is that according to a study conducted in 2011, only 9% of the editors at Wikipedia were women. And the percentage for India is even lower at 3%.
Source: Feminism in India and Punjabi Wikimedians

This event, among others that Wikipedia hosts, enables women to edit and create Wiki pages, with reliable and authentic sources.

What Will Happen There?

As per the event page, the first hour of the event will involve briefing on how to create and edit articles on Wikipedia. Then participants will be made to work individually or in groups on “a pre-made list of Indian women scientists who lack representation on Wikipedia”. At the end of the day, all the newly created Wikipedia pages will be collated and hosted on the site.

A parallel ‘Edit-a-thon’ will also take place at the Svenska institutet in Stockholm with Wikimedia Sweden and Geek Girl Meetup.

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