Ada Lovelace Day – a women in science editathon

Image shows a black and white drawn portrait of Ada Lovelace in an oval shaped border with her name across the bottom
Ada Lovelace, considered to be the world’s first programmer

This post was written by Sarah Staniforth, Wikipedian and Wikimedia UK volunteer

Tuesday 14th was this year’s Ada Lovelace Day, with people around the world dedicating events to Ada Lovelace, the mathematician who is often described as having been the world’s first computer programmer, as well as other women in science.

Volunteers from Wikimedia UK took part in the festivities by hosting a women in science-themed editathon at the University of Oxford (specifically at Banbury St IT Services, a boon for those without laptops). Being a woman who is interested in addressing the deficit of females working on Wikimedia projects (around 90% of Wikipedia editors are men) and in STEM fields, I thought it’d be good to come along and help out with the event.

The afternoon began with an introduction by Oxford computer scientist Ursula Martin, followed by a training session to familiarize all attendees with the basics of editing Wikipedia. One special surprise during the tea break was an Ada Lovelace cake! The break was followed by the body of the editathon. Using the reference books provided , attendees were encouraged to work on the pages of Oxford-related women in science including Rosa Beddington, Marian Dawkins, Dorothy Hodgkin, and Louise Johnson. Before I knew it, it was the end of the editathon, which was unfortunate as I’d like to have stayed for longer! It was a pleasure to meet other Wikimedians at the event, as well as to see people without prior editing experience get involved.

Hopefully there’ll be more (and longer) get-togethers devoted to improving Wikipedia coverage of women in science, technology, maths, and engineering very soon!