We have heard time and time again about the importance of role models in building our careers. Who did you look up to? Who inspired you to get where you are today? Who did you identify with and who made you think „if you can do it, so can I“? These might be easy questions: of course I know who inspired me, look at that great scientist! But I think inspiration can be a bit more subtle and is built up over the years.
Visibility is key here – you, who are visible, can be a role model for someone else. You may have done amazing things, but if no one or only a very small, reduced circle knows you, how can you change someone, how can you shape someone, how can you strive to inspire?
And this is where the „women“ part of the blog title comes in: there are amazing women with amazing careers and I, as a woman, firmly believe that everyone should know about them. The reason being, as a kid/teenager/young adult, I wish I had more of these role models around me to help me believe I could do cool things with my life, too.
With this in mind, about a month ago we at JuWinHPC helped organise and held the second Jülich Write’athon together with Forschungszentrum Jülich‘s network Female Voice. The aim was to increase the visibility of female scientists in Wikipedia. To do this, we first compiled a list of female professors working at Forschungszentrum Jülich who didn’t have a Wikipedia article (or only a very outdated one), but who met Wikipedia’s criteria for getting one.
The amazing Wikipedian Grizma gave us an introduction to Wikipedia and lots of useful tips and tricks. We also had a really interesting talk from one of the directors of the research centre, Professor Melchior, who used examples from her own career to explain why visibility is so important in science.
I would have liked to have had more participants (the perfectionist in me always wants more/better/faster), but there are many new articles in the pipeline and I think that is good news and I look forward to reading them all. We will portray these amazing female professors once their articles are published on this blog as well.
After the great experience we had, we will definitely organise a similar event in the future. We know that there are some great female colleagues among us who very much deserve an article, but don’t quite meet the „relevance criteria“ set by the German Wikipedia. The aim this time was to go for the low-hanging fruits, but next time we can see if we can add more colleagues to the list. After all, a researcher’s relevance should be based on their research activity and having a „Professur“ W1, W2, W3 or W-whatever should not define this.
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