Every Time She’s Harassed, This Biologist Creates a Wikipedia Page for a Woman Scientist

Barbara McClintock, one of Temple-Wood's entries.
Barbara McClintock, one of Temple-Wood’s entries. Photo: Universal History Archive/Getty Images

Maybe success is the best revenge — what if the rest of the world fails to acknowledge your success the way that they should? Is there a way to go back and correct history? Emily Temple-Wood, a biology undergrad student at Loyola University, has some ideas on the matter.

As geobiology professor A. Hope Jahren wrote in the New York Times last week, female scientists often receive emails from male colleagues that are leering, lascivious, and unwarranted: all examples of sexual harassment in the workplace. In an effort to make the best of this crappy situation, Temple-Wood decided that for every harassing email she receives — ones that include date requests, talk of her body, and inappropriate sexual implications — she’ll write a Wikipedia entry for a woman scientist.

A former Wikimedia Foundation staff member, Siko Bouterse, told the Wikimedia Blog that Temple-Wood’s project has been a huge success so far. “She’s created hundreds of articles about women scientists, including articles that address multiple gaps in Wikipedia — it’s really important that she’s not just writing about white women scientists, she’s also working to address underrepresentation of women of color in Wikipedia and looking at other points of intersectionality as well.”

Temple-Wood has been adding new entries to the WikiProject Women Scientists since 2012 (and has taught others how to do so as well). So far she’s featured everyone from Nobel Prize winner Barbara McClintock (above), experimental physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, and neuroscientist Liliana Lubinska.

One Biologist Has a Great Response to Harassment