Malala Yousafzai is one of the inspiring women recommended by our community for this month’s search for high-quality women’s biographies on Wikipedia. The youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate, she is a human rights advocate for education and for women in Pakistan. Photo by Russell Watkins, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA-2.0.
This month, we invited the Wikimedia community to recommend high-quality Wikipedia articles about women and gender diversity, to celebrate International Women’s Day and WikiWomen’s History Month.
Together, we collected a wide range of factual, well-written and insightful articles, with over 43 community recommendations, shared via email, social media and on Wikimedia sites this month.
Here are some of our favorite biographies, based on community and team feedback. The articles we selected together feature 15 women from diverse backgrounds, who made important contributions in a variety of fields, from science to the arts, business and politics.
We hope you will find their life stories as inspiring as we do.
Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, wrote what is recognized as the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. Because of this, she is often described as the world’s first computer programmer. This article is factual and well-written; it features a woman that’s an inspiration to many, particularly in the technology community.
Suggested by Fabrice Florin.
Image by Alfred Edward Chalon, Public domain.
Anita Sarkeesian is a Canadian American feminist public speaker, media critic, blogger and thought leader on women’s studies in popular culture. Her essays and video blogs have been used to teach university-level courses, drawn millions of readers and viewers, and intend to create a renewed taste for originality and diversity in modern media.
Suggested by Glitchygirl.
Image by Anita Sarkeesian, CC BY-SA 2.0.
Anne Frank is one of the most discussed Jewish victims of the Holocaust. She gained international fame posthumously after her wartime diary was published: The Diary of a Young Girl documents her experiences hiding during the German occupation of the Netherlands in World War II. Featured article.
Suggested by Andrew Sherman.
Image by Getty, Fair use.
Barbara McClintock was an American scientist and cytogeneticist who discovered several important concepts that make modern molecular genetics possible. McClintock received her PhD in botany from Cornell University, where she lead the development of maize cytogenetics, the focus of her research for the rest of her life. She received the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Featured article.
Suggested by Keilana.
Image by Smithsonian Institution, Public domain.
Corazon Aquino was a Philippine politician who served as the 11th President of the Philippines — the first woman to hold that office, and the first female president in Asia. Aquino was the most prominent figure of the 1986 People Power Revolution, which toppled the 20-year authoritarian rule of President Ferdinand Marcos and restored democracy to the Philippines. Prior to that, she had not held any elected position in government, and is said to be “the housewife that launched a revolution.”
Suggested by Jewel457.
Image by Airman Gerald B. Johnson, Public domain.
Emma Goldman was an anarchist known for her political activism, writing, and speeches. She played a pivotal role in the development of anarchist political philosophy in North America and Europe in the first half of the 20th century. For that reason, she has been described as “the most dangerous woman in America.” Featured article.
Suggested by Kaldari.
Image by Emma Goldman Papers, Public domain.
Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian and American inventor and film actress. Lamarr is known primarily as an actress, but also co-invented the technology for spread spectrum and frequency hopping communications, used by the American military to control torpedoes during World War II. Those inventions have more recently been incorporated into Wi-Fi, CDMA and Bluetooth technologies, and she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.
Suggested by Katherine Maher.
Image by Studio, Public domain.
Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw is an Indian entrepreneur, the chairman and managing director of Biocon Limited, a biotechnology company based in Bangalore. In 2014, she was awarded the Othmer Gold Medal for outstanding contributions to the progress of science and chemistry. She is on the Financial Times’ top 50 women in business list — an impressive feat, considering she was told that she could not be hired in a male-dominated field.
Suggested by Mary Mark Ockerbloom.
Image by Prathyush Thomas, GFDL 1.2.
Malala Yousafzai is the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. She is known for human rights advocacy for education and for women in northwest Pakistan, where she faced abuse from the local Taliban. Her advocacy has since grown into an international movement. This article is informative, in-depth and well-researched; it’s about an inspiring young woman that’s shown exceptional courage and started an international movement.
Suggested by Fabrice Florin.
Image by Russell Watkins, CC BY 2.0.
Navi Pillay is a South African human rights lawyer who most recently served as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. She defended anti-apartheid activists while breaking color and gender barriers as a jurist in South Africa, before becoming a respected international human rights jurist. A South African of Indian Tamil origin, she was the first non-white woman judge of the High Court of South Africa, and she has also served as a judge of the International Criminal Court and President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.
Suggested by Katherine Maher.
Image by US Mission Geneva, Public domain.
Patricia Locke (Tawacin WasteWin) was an American Indian educator-activist who is best known for her work in promoting, preserving and maintaining indigenous languages and cultures. She was a MacArthur Fellow and represented the US National Bahá’í community at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing. She was honored with an award from the Indigenous Language Institute in 2001, just before her death; posthumously, she was inducted by the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2006.
Suggested by Wiki-uk.
Image from Gobonobo, Fair use.
Rosalind Franklin was instrumental in deciphering the structure of DNA, which today is the cornerstone of modern medicine. In 1952, while at King’s College, London, she and Raymond Gosling obtained exceptionally clear diffraction pictures of DNA, which led to the discovery of its helical structure. Due to long exposure to X-rays, she developed ovarian tumors and died young at 37 years of age, without receiving recognition for her scientific contributions. Many believe that she should have shared the 1962 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for decoding the structure of DNA, along with James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins.
Suggested by Er Mohsin Dalvi. Image by Jewish Chronicle Archive/Heritage-Images, Copyright.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a member of the Supreme Court of the United States, the second female judge ever appointed, and the first Jewish female judge in the court’s history. She is also 81 years old, and has a healthy sense of her own vitality and influence. Before becoming a judge, Ginsburg spent a considerable portion of her legal career as an advocate for the advancement of women’s rights as a constitutional principle.
Suggested by Katherine Maher.
Image by Steve Petteway, Public domain.
Juana Inés de la Cruz was a self-taught scholar and poet of the Baroque school, and Hieronymite nun of New Spain, known in her lifetime as “The Tenth Muse.” Although she lived in a colonial era when Mexico was part of the Spanish Empire, she is considered today both a Mexican writer and a contributor to the Spanish Golden Age, and she stands at the beginning of the history of Mexican literature in the Spanish language. Featured article.
Suggested by Ivan Martinez.
Image by Miguel Cabrea, Public domain.
Susan Sontag was an American writer and filmmaker, teacher and political activist. Sontag was active in writing and speaking about, or travelling to, areas of conflict, including during the Vietnam War and the Siege of Sarajevo. She wrote extensively about photography, culture and media, AIDS and illness, human rights, and communism and leftist ideology. The New York Review of Books called her “one of the most influential critics of her generation.”
Suggested by Jane023.
Image by Juan Bastos, CC BY 3.0.
For more notable women’s biographies, visit our community submissions page: ‘Women and gender diversity on Wikimedia’.
This short list of community suggestions is not meant to be comprehensive, but introduces a few of the many women who helped change the world we live in.
Besides women’s biographies, we also collected other suggestions of interesting articles about gender diversity and related topics:
• Women in piracy
• Women in popular legends
• Gulabi Gang
Thanks to everyone who contributed to this community-created collection of articles!
Together, we found really well-written, factual and insightful articles, which introduced us to some fascinating individuals. Your collective suggestions broadened our perspectives about women and gender diversity.
And we are grateful to all the women profiled here, for their inspiring achievements in making the world a better place.
What do you think?
What do you think about this community curation experiment? Did you learn anything new? Should we try this again? If so, what themes would you like to focus on next?
Please chime in the comments below, with your ideas and suggestions.
We hope that collaborations like these can help us discover new ways to share knowledge with each other, by combining Wikimedia projects, our blog and social media.
Fabrice Florin – Movement Communications Manager, Wikimedia Foundation