Jessica Wade- the woman who put light on unrecognized women scientists by writing Wikipedia biographies for them

Jessica Wade

Jessica Wade grew up as the daughter of two physicians and got supportive teachers at private schools. Soon at a young age realized that not all people are lucky as her.
“People assume girls don’t choose science because they’re not inspired. Girls are already interested. It’s more about making students aware of the different careers in science and getting parents and teachers on board.” — Wade said in a recent interview.
Wade gained notice when she started (still in her 20s) writing Wikipedia biographies about women and minority scientists who never got their due — from employers, other scientists, and the public.
Wade has written more than 1,600 Wikipedia entries for long-ignored women scientists.
As her Wikipedia entries increase reach in numbers she spoke and wrote more about gender equality in science and received many awards and medals. She was cited by Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia.
However, other influential contributors and editors were unhappy with her and several entries were hindered and deleted by influential wikimedians.
She says not all her write-ups are well-known. Mentioning one of the examples – Clarice Phelps, the young African-American nuclear chemist, Wade wrote a Wikipedia bio describing her work on a team that discovered a new periodic-table element at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The Phelps entry bounced on and off Wikipedia as critics deleted it and Wade defended it. In the end, Wade won, and Phelps’ entry is back on Wikipedia for good.
Meanwhile, Wade’s own Wikipedia entry is not written by her, written by others, and has grown to 10 printed pages.

“Ultimately, we don’t only need to increase the number of girls choosing science, we need to increase the proportion of women who stay in science,” said Wade, whose doctorate research at Imperial College in London has been widely cited for advances in digital display technology for TV, computer and phone screens.

Jessica Wade

“What do you need to do? Who do you need to speak to? When do you need to make that application? Who should be your cheerleader or supporter?”
“I genuinely believe that science is better when it’s done by diverse teams,” she said.

“It’s also important because we’re designing new technologies or new scientific solutions to global problems, we want the teams of people creating them to reflect the societies that they’re serving.”

Sameera Sultana

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