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9 simple rules for writing women's biographies on Wikipedia
This set of guidelines is intended to help editors who are trying to create women's biographies for the first time. It summarizes the bare essentials of how to write biographies which stand a good chance of becoming part of the encyclopaedia.
One of the best ways to gain experience is to look at how existing women's biographies have been written on Wikipedia. Try to find a few articles on other people with backgrounds or interests similar to those you wish to cover. You might have some names in mind but you can also use one of the many lists available to find useful examples corresponding to the occupation and/or nationality of the person you want to cover.
Rule 1. Choose carefully
Not every woman in history or in today's news can be written about on Wikipedia. For Wikipedia, it is not sufficient to write biographies based on primary sources such as an individual's website, CV or job description, no matter how impressive these may appear. For Wikipedia, notability depends on a person's clear recognition by third parties, what we call notability. Avoid writing about yourself, your colleagues or your friends (or your organization).
In general, it is easier to write the biographies of women who are no longer alive than biographies of living people which need much more careful attention and more detailed sourcing.
Rule 2. Research
Establish notability with mainstream reliable sources which have been edited or curated such as newspapers, journals, books or award citations. Do not use personal, fan-based, or employer websites; or blogs; or promotional sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.
Rule 3. Write why they are important
The introduction, the first couple of lines of the article should summarize text cited in the body and tell why your subject is important. The body of the article should explain this in more detail with references.
Rule 4. Reference everything
The article needs references to your source material. At a minimum, one source for each paragraph must be given. You can learn how to add references. Add a section called References at the end of the article.
Rule 5. Write in your own words
Plagiarism is unethical and could be illegal if you use copyrighted material without properly attributing your source. In general, you should rewrite everything you find in your own words. If you include quotes, you should identify them clearly, citing the author and the source and formatting them as quotes.
Rule 6. Linking to other articles
An article should contain many links to other articles so that it is easy for people to learn more about the subject.
Rule 7. Layout
Ideally, articles should run to several hundred words although informative stubs articles are also welcome. The article should start with a short introduction followed by a biographical section headed "Biography" or "Life" which can be broken down into sections such as "Early life", "Career" and "Awards". Make sure to include a "References" section at the end of the article, you can also add an External links section to provide URLs to the person's website or to primary sources.
Rule 8. Images
Articles can be enhanced with images. But you should not add images you find on the web unless they comply with copyright rules. On the other hand, you are free to use photographs you have taken yourself. (It's not too difficult to upload them on Wikimedia Commons.) To be absolutely safe, you should not add photographs or paintings of people unless the author has been dead for over 70 years. If you are in doubt, you should ask for advice.