Women in the sciences have long been underrepresented and largely unrecognized for their work. Only about 25% of STEM jobs in the US are occupied by women.
This is why we should be looking back on some of the most forgotten female scientists throughout history and discussing what they contributed to society.
Some of these women were pioneers in their fields, while others were important advocates for education and equality. They all deserve to be remembered and honored for their contributions to science, so let’s get started!
Marie Curie is most known for her research on radioactivity, and she was the first person to be awarded two Nobel Prizes. Born Maria Sklodowska, Marie Curie went on to become one of the world’s leading scientists and most famous female scientists.
Curie was born in Poland and specialized in studying the natural sciences. She studied at Sorbonne University and after graduating, she continued her studies at the Academy of Sciences in France.
After presenting a paper on work that she had done with her husband Pierre, they were awarded their first Nobel Prize-the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics. They were also awarded the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their discovery of Radium and Radon.
Marie Curie died from an acute form of radiation sickness called leukaemia, which is caused by prolonged exposure to radiation.
The lack of female representation in STEM fields is alarming.
This can be contributed to both historical and current social factors.
Historically, there were many obstacles blocking women from entering the sciences like the lack of education for women or even outright discrimination.
However, these barriers are not entirely gone.
Even now, there are many ways that society discourages young girls from pursuing careers in STEM fields.
Often times it’s a lack of encouragement from parents, teachers, and other influential adults who have a lot of sway over children.
In addition to this systematic discouragement, STEM fields still have a major gender bias that has been present since their conception. This typically means that women are not encouraged or given adequate access to the same opportunities as men in the field, which makes it harder for them to succeed and be recognized for their work.
Marie Curie is one of the most famous women in the STEM world. She was a physicist and chemist who made numerous contributions to science, including her work on radioactivity.
She also won two Nobel prizes, one for physics and one for chemistry. Sadly, she died in 1934 after being exposed to radioactive materials.
Another notable woman in the field is Emilie du Chatelet, who was a mathematician and physicist who contributed to science in several ways. Her most notable piece of work was an essay that debunked Newton’s theory about light waves.
Among many other contributions, she translated Isaac Newton’s ‘Principia’ into French because it wasn’t available at the time!
With these female pioneers paving the way for future women in science, society can only hope things continue to improve for women in STEM fields.
This post has discussed some of the most overlooked female scientists throughout history and what they contributed to society. Many of these women were pioneers in their fields and all deserve to be remembered and honored for their contributions to science!
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