Shelley Powers believes that well-known female technologists are less likely to find themselves in Wikipedia than their male counterparts:
Why are there significantly fewer women? I think one reason is that we women are taught not to put ourselves forward. Men are complimented for tooting their own horn; making known their wishes; noting their own accomplishments. Women, however, are expected to be sweet, demure, and most of all, stay ever so slightly in the shadow.
My take on her observation is that men are more strongly rewarded for being assertive, a group dynamic you can see in play often if you look for it. A few years ago I lost a bunch of weight by following Weight Watchers, and the weekly meetings I attended were an intrusion into a world that had as many males in it as an Oprah Winfrey taping. Even in a crowd that was 20-to-1 female, I was amazed at how often male dieters dominated the discussions.
(Personally, I was afraid to speak, fearing that some of the dieters starving themselves for the weekly weigh-in might had sublimated their hunger with inchoate rage.)
I'm fishing around for underrepresented subjects in Wikipedia, so I added a biography this morning for one of those overlooked technologists -- new-media guru and former Netscape exec Susan Mernit:
As an executive, Mernit launched several corporate media sites since introducing Scholastic Press on America Online in 1992. She developed the childrens educational site Yuckiest Site on the Internet with Jeff Jarvis and served as the editor of New Jersey Online.
She was a vice president of programming, design and production at Netscape from 1999-2001, leading a redesign of the site to coincide with the release of Netscape Navigator 6.0, and was vice president of programming at America Online from 2001-2003.
Today, she's a founding partner of the consulting firm 5ive Corp and a frequent speaker at online media and technology conferences, personally organizing the "social media" gathering BlogOn in 2004. She is a senior fellow at the Media Center, a think tank established by the American Press Institute, and an advisory board member of the the digital media archive Ourmedia.
Mernit originally pursued a career in literature, writing two collections of poetry and serving as writer-in-residence for the Teachers & Writers Collaborative. Her short story "Bella" was adapted into a TV movie in 1982. She has a bachelor of arts in English and writing from Bard College and a master's in creative writing and English literature from Ohio State University.
She was married to musician Spencer Jarrett and has a son, Zack, who attends Michigan State University.
- Everything You Need to Know About Changing Schools (Rosen Publishing, 1992) ISBN 0823913260
- Tree Climbing (Membrane Press, 1981) ISBN 0879240369
- The Angelic Alphabet (Tree Books, 1976) ISBN 8267436752
Putting together a biography based only from the information you can find on the web is an interesting literary exercise -- I once frightened people on MetaFilter by compiling one entirely from a member's comments.