Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Meet the biologist using sexist trolling to raise the profile of women in science

Marie Curie Wikipedia - Copy.jpg

Emily Temple-Wood, a molecular biology student at Loyola University, Chicago, is waging war on internet trolls in a incredibly original way. She’s turning their venom into the fuel behind a project which aims to raise the profile of women in science.

Having been vocal about the underrepresentation of female scientists, specifically on Wikipedia, Temple-Wood has unfortunately opened herself up to trolling, namely in the form of harassing emails.

But now, for each trolling email received, she and her collaborators are creating a brand new Wikipedia article profiling a female scientist.

There's a backlog, but the bittersweet outcome has been that WikiProject Women Scientists, a Wikipedia project which Temple-Wood co-founded in 212, is now flourishing.

Emily Temple-Wood

Emily Temple-Wood, a molecular biology student and co-founder of WikiProject Women Scientists (Image courtesy of Wikipedia)

The project began when, in her second year of university, Temple-Wood was made aware that very few female fellows belonging to revered scientific community, The Royal Society, had Wikipedia articles written about them.

Talking to Wikimedia, she says: “I got [angry] and wrote an article that night … I literally sat in the hallway in the dorm until 2am writing [my] first women in science article.”

Since then, the project has grown to include 77 contributors, who have collectively seen 376 female scientists featured on Wikipedia’s homepage.

Describing the trolling Temple-Wood, who progresses to medical school this autumn, faces on a daily basis, Wikimedia writes: “Unfortunately, [she] has been targeted by a significant amount of harassment based on her gender.”

“Throwaway email addresses frequently send her requests for dates, condescendingly discuss her body, insinuate that she got to where she is through sexual favours, ask her to reserve those favours for themselves, and when she doesn’t reply, they spew profanities.”

Wikipedia page for Barbara McClintock

Wikipedia page for Barbara McClintock, an American scientist and cytogeneticist, created by Temple-Wood

None of that is getting in the way of Temple-Wood’s project however, which has successfully published biographies of women from Polish neuroscientist Liliana Lubinska to Russian physician and chemist Adelaida Lukanina.

Despite juggling her studies with a host of other commitments, and bearing the emotional burden of constant harassment, Temple-Wood has continued to hosted campus edit-a-thons to get more content live, and has also hooked up with other WikiProject teams to pool resources.

In her mission to close what's becoming known as the 'content gender gap', she is unstoppable.

“Someday we’ll be writing a biography about her and her scientific discoveries, mark my word,” says Rosie Stephenson-Goodknight, editor of Women in Red, a WikiProject which also works to close the internet's content gender gap.

“I wonder what her harassers and detractors will think about that, especially if Emily’s scientific discoveries help heal their mum or sister.”

If you'd like to contribute to WikiProject Women Scientists, sign-up here.

Related

iStock_000055666196_Double.jpg

Spanish judge asks sexual assault victim, “Did you close your legs?”

Adam and I.jpg

What happened when I flew to Croatia for a date with a stranger

rexfeatures_3957790a.jpg

Seventy percent of British women verbally harassed in public

beyonce.jpg

The feminist book Beyoncé wants all her fans to read

rexfeatures_5541875cy.jpg

Hayden Panettiere: post-partum depression is not a fake condition

We Count Postcode Camapign.jpg

#WEcount campaign is helping victims of sexual assault reclaim London

rexfeatures_5600075am.jpg

Lady Gaga on why female artists are wary of #FreeKe$ha

LillyWachowski.jpg

Matrix director Wachowski on coming out as a transgender woman

Barbie Ken.JPG

There's now a more 'realistic' Ken doll

Comments

More

How it feels to be a woman in America right now

"There is a sense of impending doom"

02 Dec 2016

Viewers slam Eamonn Holmes for ‘sexist’ treatment of GBBO's Candice

“He’s making me so uncomfortable – poor Candice”

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

The 12 surprising health benefits of mulled wine

Mulled wine, how do we love thee? Let us count the ways…

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

Pensioner, 89, offered bar job after "stop me dying from boredom" ad

We love a story with a happy ending

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

Bake Off fans, you can now apply to be on Channel 4’s GBBO

On your marks, get set, baaaaake…

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

Inventor of new £5 note brands vegans “stupid” over animal fat debate

"It's stupid. It's absolutely stupid."

by Sarah Biddlecombe
02 Dec 2016

Baby it’s Cold Outside has been given a feminist makeover

The troubling Christmas song has been transformed into an epic consent anthem

by Kayleigh Dray
02 Dec 2016

You’d be more productive if you could work from a café, study finds

Tell your boss.

by Moya Crockett
02 Dec 2016

The best low-alcohol swaps for your favourite beers, wines and spirits

Time for a booze-not-booze?

by Amy Swales
01 Dec 2016

Dorchester issues “disgusting” list of beauty demands to female staff

Women have been told to shave their legs and wear full make-up

by Sarah Biddlecombe
01 Dec 2016