writing in women

The excellent Flonight points out on Wikipedia’s village pump that along with International Women’s Day this past Monday, March is Women’s History month in the U.S., and the National Women’s History Project theme this year is “Writing Women Back into History.”

The connection to Wikipedia is obvious. Flonight points out just a handful of possible neglected biographies one could work on, featuring female pilots. This is only the tip of the iceberg; everywhere you look on Wikipedia there are biographies of women that need to be better written, sourced, or added in the first place. Articles like the one about Elsie MacGill, one of my favorite articles that I have worked on in Wikipedia. MacGill was the world’s first female aircraft designer, working in Canada during World War II. She was known as “Queen of the Hurricanes” and was somewhat famous during her lifetime, though has been mostly forgotten since. She went on after her engineering career to earn the Order of Canada for working on commissions for improving the status of women.

As I said, I worked on this article a fair amount, spending time over the course of a few months sourcing it, and I am reasonably confident that the Wikipedia article is currently one of the best resources on the web about this remarkable woman. How many other stories are out there waiting to be researched and written up? Let’s write women — even the ones who are not so famous anymore, but who are pioneers, notable scientists, politicians, engineers, soldiers — let’s write them back into history, and back into the encyclopedia.

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