To celebrate International Women’s Day, we want to share some of the inspiring stories of women who contribute to Wikipedia and the Wikimedia projects.

We shared their stories on the Wikimedia Blog in recent years. We are pleased to introduce them here again. Many of these are video interviews which you can watch right here on this page.

Zinaida Good

Zinaida Good

Photo by Victor Grigas, under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Zinaida Good grew up in Russia, studied in Canada and started editing Wikipedia in 2008, as a college assignment. When she finished her report, her professor, a cancer geneticist, recommended that she post it as an article on Wikipedia. She views Wikipedia as a way to help anyone, anywhere, learn about anything — especially when they don’t have other educational resources available to them. Years later, she’s still editing articles on biology and cancer. Helping educate the world — and watching pageviews climb for articles she’s worked on — keeps her motivated to keep writing.
Learn more in this 2013 blog profile.

Poongothai Balasubramanian

File:The Impact of Wikipedia Poongothai Balasubramanian.webm

You can also view this video on YouTube. Video by Victor Grigas, under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Poongothai Balasubramanian, an Indian teacher who retired in 2010 after 33 years in the classroom, started editing Wikipedia at the urging of her son. Thus began her “retirement career” as an active Wikipedian. She has expanded articles about mathematics, such as Parabola, Ellipse and Hyperbola. Balasubramanian remembers what it was like when knowledge was at a premium — as is still the case in many parts of the world. She sees editing Wikipedia as a way to change that dynamic, to deliver the sum of human knowledge for free.
Learn more in this 2012 blog profile.

Susan Hewitt

File:What's a Love Dart?.webm

You can also view this video on YouTube. Video by Victor Grigas, under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Susan Hewitt believes that fostering a little wiki love, and a sense of camaraderie, can go a long way toward helping new editors feel at home. She thinks software tools are essential for improving the editing experience and she is grateful to the MediaWiki developers who work to make that happen, whether on a paid or volunteer basis. Hewitt has developed a system for welcoming new editors to projects and recommends that experienced editors act as mentors to invite them to collaborate on Wikipedia.
Learn more in this 2012 blog profile.

Ravan Jaafar Altaie

File:The Impact of Wikipedia Ravan Jaafar Altaie.webm

You can also view this video on YouTube. Video by Victor Grigas, under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Ravan Jaafar Altaie was inspired to edit Wikipedia to learn more about the world around her. A native of Iraq, she also hoped to make a difference for Arabic speakers by expanding content on the Arabic Wikipedia. After reading Wikipedia for several years, Altaie tried her hand at editing in 2008, after hearing about the “Add to humanity, add to Wikipedia” initiative in Egypt. She was struck by Wikipedia’s collaborative spirit and by its wide reach. According to Altaie, editing an article allows a user to take time to research a specific topic or area of interest. As more and more users turn to Arabic Wikipedia, she hopes to keep increasing its content, either by translating existing pages from other languages, or by creating original articles.
Learn more in this 2012 blog profile.

Melisa Parisi

Melisa Parisi

Melisa Parisi by Victor Grigas, under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

When Melisa Parisi began contributing to Wikimedia in 2007, she was only 15. A native Argentinean, she started translating articles about the long-running cartoon The Simpsons from English Wikipedia to Spanish Wikipedia. Her first article was deleted because it didn’t have the correct formatting. Undeterred, Parisi kept editing with the help of an even younger Wikipedian. As of 2012, she had written more than 800 articles — including 40 featured articles — and made more than 27,000 edits. Parisi hopes that more young people will also contribute to Wikipedia. She thinks all that’s required to contribute to Wikipedia is the desire to do so.
Learn more in this 2013 blog profile.

Mei Jiun Kwek

File:The Impact of Wikipedia - Mei Jiun Kwek.webm

You can also view this video on YouTube. Video by Victor Grigas, freely licensed under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Mei Jiun Kwek uploaded her first image to Wikimedia Commons while working as a scientific assistant at Crops for the Future, an international organization based in Malaysia. As a student, she spent a lot of time collecting plant specimens in the forest, developing a love of botany. Kwek thinks that agriculture researchers should take responsibility for sharing their findings with the general public. In her view, Wikipedia has untapped potential to improve our understanding of agricultural topics, especially for neglected and underutilized crops.
Learn more in this 2012 blog profile.

Emily Temple-Wood

Emily Temple-Wood

Photo by Andrew Lih, under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Emily Temple-Wood was 12 years old when she got involved in Wikipedia. Having read an entire children’s encyclopedia from cover to cover at the age of five, she found it natural to switch from consuming knowledge to creating it. Despite her academic commitments, Temple-Wood has made it her mission to ensure that female scientists get their due recognition on Wikipedia. She says the scientific community has been keen to get more involved with Wikipedia, a trend that is not only positive but necessary. If Wikipedia didn’t exist, Temple-Wood says she would still find a way to volunteer to share free knowledge with the world.
Learn more in this 2013 blog profile.

Noopur Raval

File:The Impact of Wikipedia - Srikeit Tadepalli and Noopur Raval.webm

You can also view this video on YouTube. Video by Victor Grigas, under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Contributing to Wikimedia is more than just editing for Indian resident Noopur Raval: it’s about giving back by spreading the word about the movement. Raval joined the Wikimedia movement through an outreach program organized by her friend Srikeit Tadepalli (pictured above), and started contributing in 2011. Raval’s favorite contribution to Wikipedia is an article on the Kanchipuram Sari, which turned out to be a personal journey for her.
Learn more in this 2013 blog profile.

Q Miceli

File:The Impact of Wikipedia - Q Miceli.webm

You can also view this video on YouTube. Video by Victor Grigas, under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

Q Miceli, who hails from New Jersey, started contributing to Wikipedia while researching a “tree of life” project for her 9th grade biology class. An avid cook, Miceli contributes to many Wikipedia articles on baking, which she hopes will be useful to others interested in the craft. “Writing about baking affects the greater good because everyone needs to eat and bread is the staff of life,” she explains. “I have found Wikipedia articles explaining the science behind baking better than many cookbooks! I’m also able to learn about the cultural aspect of what I’m eating with Wikipedia.” Miceli dreams of one day opening her own vegan, gluten-free bakery.
Learn more in this 2013 blog profile.

Chanitra Bishop

Chanitra Bishop

Photo by Karen Sayre, under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Chanitra Bishop always wanted to work in a library, because she enjoys helping people find information. She found a way to fulfill that dream with Wikipedia. A volunteer since 2010, Bishop joined the Wikipedia Education Program in Indiana, Illinois and Ohio as Regional Ambassador, working with both students and teachers. She believes that the more you contribute to Wikipedia, the more respect you earn from our community.
Learn more in this 2013 blog profile.

Iolanda Pensa

Iolanda Pensa

Photo by Niccolò Caranti, under CC BY-SA 3.0.

Iolanda Pensa was scientific director of WikiAfrica from 2007 to 2012, leading a major initiative to add more content from Africa to Wikipedia. With the support of 100 institutional partners, the Swiss-born community leader engaged African volunteers to make over 30,000 contributions to Wikimedia projects by the end of 2012. She believes that Wikipedia can work closely with primary school to give access to knowledge for everyone on the planet.
Learn more in this 2013 blog profile.

Many thanks to these women for their many contributions to Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects! We are also grateful to everyone who helped create these profiles and videos over the years, so we could share these inspiring stories with our community.

Andrew Sherman, Digital Communications Intern, Wikimedia Foundation
Victor Grigas, Storyteller and Video Content Producer, Wikimedia Foundation
Fabrice Florin, Movement Communications Manager, Wikimedia Foundation