International Women’s Day 2019 – A Nod To Women in the Sciences

March 8, 2019
international womens day

International Women’s Day 2019 – A Nod To Women in the Sciences

Today is International Women’s Day and we would like to take a look back at the women in the sciences who have made technological strides, and provided a space for women to cultivate their scientific interests. The STEM field has long been dominated by men. Some early trailblazers advocated for women to attend universities, and find a job that wasn’t being a homemaker. Thanks in part to the early stages of feminism, more women were encouraged to deviate from their societal expectations. While some STEM fields are still dominated by men, an equilibrium between women and men is trying to be achieved. Keep reading to learn more about some special women and their impact on history.

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace is Lord Byron’s daughter. She was a lifelong student of chemistry and math. Her contributions to the analytical Engine laid the groundwork for the first computer.

Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale was a British nurse in the Crimean War. Her medical contributions and code of ethics laid the basis for the modern field of nursing.

Clara Barton

Clara Barton is known as the founder of the American Red Cross. Through her work nursing Civil War soldiers, she formed the organization. The Red Cross is a non-profit healthcare organization that provides health-related services to many people. They are most known for giving aid during natural disasters, and for hosting blood drives. To help celebrate International Women’s Day, try giving blood.

Marie Curie

Marie Curie was a Polish physicist and chemist whose discovery of Radium and Polonium forever changed chemistry with her research on radioactivity. She is one of two people to have won two Nobel prizes in two different categories. Unfortunately, her research led to aplastic anemia which ultimately killed her. The radiation she experienced also killed her daughter and son-in-law. This research led scientists to seriously understand the effects of radiation.

Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin, unfortunately, died before her work was published, and could not be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, even though she more than deserved to be. She laid the foundation for DNA and found that it consisted of a double helix structure. Instead, Watson and Crick won the prize for achievements in DNA. Because of her research, she has laid the groundwork for current advancements in genetic testing, genetic counseling, and a better understanding of how diseases play a role in the human body.

Henrietta Lacks

Henrietta Lacks unfortunately developed cervical cancer. However, she did not consent to the stealing of her cells for mitosis replication for research. She continues to be noted for the contribution of her HeLa cells which have helped and been used in many different types of cancer research to better understand the nature of the disease.

Dr. Virginia Apgar

Dr. Virginia Apgar was one of the early female physicians in the United States when more women were being admitted to medical school. She created the Apgar Score. When a baby is born, it is identified by a variety of physiological conditions, and what type of health the infant is in. The score is a 1-10, with 10 being great health, and 1 meaning the baby desperately needs medical attention and resuscitation.

Margaret Sanger

Margaret Sanger was a leader in second-wave feminism. She championed the availability of birth control as a contraception used by women. She opened a birth control clinic designed specifically to cater to women. This would later become known as Planned Parenthood. Common services at Planned Parenthood include family planning, contraception for both men and women, gynecological screenings, abortion referrals, and STD testings – all at a much lower cost than hospitals and private physicians.

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson is a mathematician and one of the women depicted in the movie “Hidden Figures”. Her mathematical calculations (by hand) helped to calculate the specifics for some of the first space launches for NASA.

Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson was a marine biologist and conservationist. She authored the book, “Silent Spring” in which she documents the use of pesticides on the environment.

Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall is most popularly known as the woman who protects chimpanzees. She is a primatologist and inspires everyone to be an animal lover.

Final Thoughts

Do you have a favorite historical woman who was not mentioned in this article? Do you have a favorite woman in STEM? Are you a woman in STEM? Comment on your experience and journey below!

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