Earlier this week Google commemorated psychiatrist and substance abuse researcher Dr Herbert Kleber with a Google Doodle by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, and provided a rather sobering example of how technology reinforces systemic bias and structural inequality, and also how we can address it.
Kleber is certainly worth celebrating, a quick glance at his Wikipedia page shows that he revolutionised approaches to theorising, researching and treating drug addiction, by rejecting punitive and moralistic approaches and focusing on scientific research into the causes and treatments of addiction. Kleber’s Wikipedia page also records that he co-founded the Substance Abuse Division at Columbia University, with his wife Dr Marian Fischman. Fishman was already a respected psychologist researching narcotics and addiction when she met and married Kleber in 1987 and they founded the Substance Abuse Center five years later in 1992. However when Google published their doodle on 1st October, to commemorate the 23rd anniversary of Kleber’s election to the National Academy of Medicine, Fischman had no Wikipedia page of her own. Indeed she didn’t even warrant a red link. I flagged this up on twitter to the fabulous Wiki Women In Red project, which aims to address Wikipedia’s gender gap by creating new biographical articles for women, and turning red links blue, and I’m delighted to say that Fischman had her own Wikipedia entry by the end of the day. It’s still just a stub and could do with a lot more work, but at least it’s there and it’s a starting point.
There are many more prominent women scholars, thinkers, researchers and scientists who are all too often relegated to the role of “wife” and who lack their own Wikipedia entries. If you’d like to help write entries for some of these women, the University of Edinburgh is running a Women in Engineering Wikipedia editathon as part of its Ada Lovelace Day events on Tuesday 8th October so why not come along and help us to record the achievements of some notable women. You can find out more information and sign up for the Ada Lovelace Day events and editathon here: https://thinking.is.ed.ac.uk/ada-lovelace-day/
And who knows, maybe one day Marian Fischman will be celebrated by her own Google Doodle too.