Jess Wade is a London researcher and physicist who spends her time doing more than studying chiral organic light emitting diodes - whatever that means.
And she's doing it one wikipedia article at a time.
Jess Wade, a female in a male-dominated field of study, invests countless hours working to increase female representation in the sciences. Did you know that only 17% of wikipedia's biographies in 2016 were about women? That's a depressingly low number given how wikipedia articles are often the first resource populated when searching almost anything on the internet nowadays.
"I thought, 'what could we do now to make sure that women are on an equal footing with men?' and that's where Wikipedia's really useful... it costs nothing for me to write a Wikipedia page other than maybe an hour or an hour and a half of my time."
Wade established the ambitious goal at the turn 2018 to complete one wikipedia article highlighting a female in science but has since vastly outpaced even her own goals by amassing an incredible 280 and climbing this year alone! According to her own claim for time, that's approximately 280 to 420 hours of her time this year for free. What motivates this post-doctoral student to invest so much of her time for free? Though it may be hard for others to grasp, the answer to Wade is vivid:
"We see science works better, science works faster, engineering works better when we have the biggest and most diverse range of people contributing to it," Wade said. "We need everyone to help solve these problems because they're bigger than anyone can physically imagine, and ... we need every single scientist in the country, really in the world, to solve it."
While Wade's work as a post-doc in physics is incredibly impressive, it's been her dedication to public engagement and outreach that have revealed her tireless pursuit for equal representation to the limelight of the media. From her Wikipedia campaign to sitting on committees dedicated to bridging the gender gap within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematic (STEM) studies to females, Wade's professional and developmental pursuits are both inspiring and endless.
Science needs more women like Jess Wade working to improve female representation in important areas that otherwise have historically casted a shadow on them. Thanks, Dr. Wade, for all of your hard work and dedication to equal representation.