(Civil engineer Elizabeth Mount at work on the Barbican redevelopment, 1969)

The IET is teaming up with the Wellcome Library to host a ‘women in engineering Wikithon’ on 15 June at the Wellcome Library. This event aims to celebrate women engineers that deserve a more prominent place in the online historical record.

The event is open to all, from complete beginners to experienced editors. As well as learning to edit Wikipedia entries attendees will hear inspirational talks about women in the history of engineering. There will also be the opportunity to see exciting original archive material and to explore the Wellcome Collection’s Electricity: The Spark of Life exhibition. If you can’t be there in person, we encourage you to participate remotely and tweet your progress and any questions to us at @IETLibArch. Please tweet using the hashtag #womenghist

Why is editing Wikipedia important?

Did you know approximately 17% of notable Wikipedia entries are for women and just 15% of Wikipedia’s volunteer editors are female? This gender gap is very important as Wikipedia is one of the most commonly used information sources in the world; as such it is a huge reference source for students, researchers and journalists. Adding properly sourced information to Wikipedia is a great and straightforward way to increase the visibility of women in STEM.

Simple steps to prepare for the big day

  1. Sign up for the event! Spaces are limited; please do register if you would like to attend. We’ll also be live tweeting from @IETLibArch
  2. Create a Wikipedia account by clicking ‘Log in’ at the top right hand corner of any Wikipedia page. This will help to speed things up on the day. Join as an editor and enjoy the benefits of practising editing in your own ‘sandbox’, interacting with other editors and creating new articles. Pick a pseudonym and sign up with your email address
  3. Think about what you would like to work on – is there an existing Wikipedia page that you think requires more information? Is there a page for a notable woman engineer or particular group of engineers that you would like to create? We’ll have a range of resource materials to assist on the day but you are very welcome to bring materials along. It would be useful to assemble a few basic pieces of information about your chosen subject in advance. Remember good references make good articles! For further inspiration check out our women in engineering webpages
  4. These notability guidelines explain what topics can be written about on Wikipedia
  5. You can also learn more about the process of editing Wikipedia in advance using the Visual Editor user guide
  6. You might also consider if you would have any conflicts of interest as a Wikipedia editor

We hope you’ll be able to join us in person or remotely and be inspired to continue editing Wikipedia, helping to make the history of women engineers discoverable for digital researchers around the world.

Useful links

The five fundamental pillars of Wikipedia

Where are all the women on Wikipedia? – Laura Bates, The Guardian, 9 December 2016

Gender bias and Wikipedia

The Wikipedia tea-house – a user friendly help forum