Enriching Wikipedia with articles on female scientists: outcomes of Women in STEM competition

7 September 2019

On September 6, the awarding ceremony for the winners of the Women in STEM Contest, organized by Wikimedia Ukraine and the United Nations Population Fund, took place.

From June 1 to June 30, a competition for writing articles about women in STEM - sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics - continued on Ukrainian Wikipedia. During this period, about 50 participants created and improved 500 articles.

Women are far less involved in STEM professions, which still remain stereotypically "male". Moreover, women in these areas are less likely to be highlighted. United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) program analyst Nataliia Koshovska notes that 90% of Wikipedia content writers are men.

“Did you know that Wikipedia has four times more articles about men than women? Or that only one in seven of more than 160,000 biographical articles are women's biographies? This all means that most of the information available on scientific, technical, sports and other achievements has a male face.

It is important for us to create conditions in which women and men, their knowledge and skills would be equally represented. And our joint initiative aims to redress the gender imbalance and create more articles on Wikipedia specifically about outstanding women: experts and role models. Therefore, we are very grateful to everyone who has joined to improve this skewed picture, as we know that there are many prominent women, so let others know about them”, says Nataliia Koshovska, UNFPA Program Analyst.

The competition was aimed to illustrate the success stories of women in the natural sciences. We sought to dispel the stereotypes that STEM is not for women and to motivate girls to pursue careers in these fields.

The work of the participants was evaluated by a jury of experienced Wikipedians with experience in STEM or gender studies, as well as invited experts.

The award was presented in three nominations - "Best Article", "Largest Contribution" and "Most Productive New Member".

"Best Article":

1st place - Solomiya Fedushko, who wrote an article about a scientist, teacher of the National Lviv Polytechnic University Natalia Shakhovska.

2nd place – a contributor nicknamed Sthelen.aqua, who compiled a chronology of women in science, covering the period from ancient history to the 21st century.

3rd place – Oksana Alekseyeva, who improved the article about Ukrainian scientist, mycologist Mariya Zerova.



“Largest Contribution”:

1st place - Yaroslav Stefanko (66 articles)

2 nd place - Lidiya Deybuk (54 articles)

3rd place - Serhiy Lipko (37 articles)


“Most Productive New Member”:

Alyona Kharina (12 articles)

2nd place - Veronika Makoviak (5 articles)

3rd place - Yuliya Kovalchuk (2 articles)

Three special nominations were also established - “Ukrainian women in STEM”, “Girls in STEM” and “Women - Promoters of Science” (co-organizer of the special nomination – "My Science" project).

Ukrainian women special nomination:

Winner – Oleh Shostak (wrote 14 articles in the special nomination)

Awardees - Andriy Hrytsenko (20 articles), Oksana Alekseyeva (2 large articles)


Girls in STEM special nomination:

Winner - Andriy Hrytsenko (9 articles)

Awardees - Yaroslav Stefanko (6 articles), Veronica Makoviak (5 articles)


Women - Promoters of Science

Winner - Yaroslav Stefanko. Organizers of the special nomination noted his article about Marie-Anne Pierette Paulze, a popularizer of science, who lived in the 17-18 centuries.

Prize winners - Lyubov Suvernyova, Valentina Kodola, Lidiya Deybuk, Veronika Makoviak.

“One of the winners of the competition wrote in the feedback form, that it is pity that the competition lasts for a month only, as it is impossible to cover all interesting topics or write about all extraordinary scientists. And this is true: the competition for articles in Women in STEM nomination lasted only one month. However, initiatives dedicated to highlighting the achievements of prominent women and tackling gender imbalances - both on Wikipedia and beyond - are not over”, summed up Anton Protsyuk, Project Manager at Wikimedia Ukraine.