“Numerous Prominent Female Thinkers Lack Wikipedia Entries”


Wikipedia (Photo credit: Octavio Rojas)

Ahem. Exxxccuuuse, me! But, dear ole Wikipedia, this really stinks. Not that I’m surprised, really, or even shocked (even). I’ve sensed this for several years when I shot over to Big W to get the basic info on contemporary women authors, philosophers, scientists (e.g., accomplished, talented women who have made significant contributions both in their fields and to the world) and found nada, nil, null, nothing there.

“Numerous Prominent Female Thinkers Lack Wikipedia Entries,” a headline in my local paper for an AP newsfeed story, got on my last nerve (it’s Friday, OK?) and I banged on my laptop keys and landed here:

“Women Scientists, Wikipedia Under Microscope in RI”


And finally landed on the Washington Post site (below)

Female scientists in Wikipedia Under Microscope in Rhode Island Edit-a-Thon”

By Associated Press,   Published: October 16

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — 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. Even women who have done pioneering work in these fields don’t always get recognition. Since 2009, no woman has won a Nobel Prize in science.

A Brown University biology professor and an alumna hope to help chip away at the problem with a Wikipedia “edit-a-thon,” one of many that’s been held in recent years to help increase the representation of women on Wikipedia….


All of which (hahaha!) made me think, “Wow. You know? I wonder. I just wonder …. Do I have a Wikipedia entry?”

This is not as implausible as someone unfamiliar with my career might think, for it’s been a long career (I launched early) in publishing and bookselling and writing books/articles/book reviews/publishing industry news ad infinitum. As a result, I’ve appeared in a number of august biographical tomes over the years, heavy weights (literally) like Who’s Who in America, Literary Marketplace, Christian Writers and Editors and many reference works on contemporary authors, journalists, book critics etc. because I’ve been writing for what seems like an eternity and have published work in places like the NY Times, LA Times, Publishers Weekly and so on. Heck, my journalism about the trade publishing industry has even been used as evidence in major publishing lawsuits (Random House vs. Rosetta Books, for instance).

I had nothing to do with getting listed in these doorstoppers, mind you, and no one at these organizations asked my permission before hand or even bothered to fact check with me to ascertain the veracity of what they put in these clunkers about me and my work (which is rather annoying, but I don’t really have the time to be annoyed about things like that, so . . . . So what? I concluded and moved on).

So? So–no, I do not have a Wikipedia entry under my name, I discovered, spurred to check it out by this no-news news that women are under-represented in Wikipedia.

And now, you know what? I’m surprised at the effect all of this rapid online research has had on me, because, after all is said and done? Now I’m really, really annoyed!

[ Not really 🙂 ]

But I do think, ladies, that we need to do our part to make sure that more glaring oversights than moi, the undeniable travesties of ignoring major female luminaries in the arts and sciences by Wikipedia, are rectified by engaging in Wikipedia entry writing and editing.

More on this later, sistahs.

About Margaret Jean Langstaff

A lifelong critical reader with literary tastes, a novelist, short story writer, essayist, book critic, and professional book editor for many years. A consultant to publishers and authors, providing manuscript critiques and a full range of editorial services. A friend and supporter of all other readers and writers. A collector of signed modern first editions. Animal lover and tree hugger. Follow me on Twitter @LangstaffEditor
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