There are so many things that form you are as a person and your society has a very big role to play in how you turn out to be in the future . In a lot of societies , science is seen as a male area of interest and because of this ,we find out that this field tends out to be ‘male dominated ‘ . You can take a walk into a prestigious University and find out that courses such as engineering or other science related courses have very few females whereas courses like Mass communication ,English Literature or International Relations have a lot of females ; there is nothing wrong with studying mass communication or any other course of your choice if it is what you want .
However , most of these science courses that has few females is not as a result of lack of interest but misconceptions that are common in our society . Many girls tend to shy away from such courses even though they have interest and in some cases parents due to societal belief or pressure stop their daughters from joining this field that appear to be reserved for men alone .
This belief that science is for men only is untrue . You can be anything you want to be . Your brain also has the capacity to understand complex formulas and provide logical solution to problems that will change the world . You can win a Novel Prize or make great contributions to science as a female .
It’s easier to believe in something when you see evidence of it happening to other people . Representation matters and that is why we have picked up ten awesome female scientist you can look up to. From psychologist to fossil collectors to astronomers to physicist , chemist and Nobel Prize winners.
And this is not to say that the value of women in science is only seen when they have achieved world recognition , so many women have contributed to science one way or the other whether their names are known or not . Science as we know it will not be the way it is now if not for the contribution and sacrifice of so many amazing people .
Marie Sklodowska Curie
We cannot talk about women in science without talking about Marie Curie. This amazing woman was not only the first woman to win a Nobel Prize but she was the first person to win it twice; the first one was in Physics which she won alongside her husband and the second one was in chemistry. Marie Curie was also the first female professor at the University of Paris. She was also known for conducting one of the first researches and developing the theory of Radioactivity.
Dorothy Mary Crowfoot Hodgkin
Dorothy Hodgkin was a brilliant scientist who is known for developing Protein Crystallography which led to her winning the Nobel Prize in chemistry in the year 1964. She is also known for determining the structure of Insulin.
Lisa Meitner was an amazing scientist who was known for her works on nuclear physics and radioactivity. She was also the first female to become a department head and a professor at Kaiser Wilhelm Institute and also the first full female professor of physics in the whole of Germany. Her contributions to physics are massive.
This English X-ray crystallography and chemist dedicated time to understand the molecular structures of the DNA. Viruses, graphite, RNA and coal. Rosalind Franklin after her death was one of the reasons that opened a ground for the discussion of sexism and sidelining of women in King’s College London and in science generally.
This amazing woman was a German astronomer. Together with her brother, she helped in recording observations such as recording about 2500 new nebulae and star clusters, the NGC notation etc. she was also the first woman to discover a comet and the first woman to be paid for scientific work.
This English woman was known as a great fossil hunter and the most shocking part of it all was that Mary Anning was uneducated. After being taught the act of collecting fossils by her father, she was able to collect the fossil of the first complete dinosaur known as Ichthyosaurus which was believed to have dated back to about 200 million years.
Mary the Jewess
The list will not be complete without this amazing alchemist who was said to have lived between 1st and 3rd centuries A.D. Mary was considered to be the pioneer for alchemy and her work had provided the basis for it.
This brilliant computer programmer and mathematician was given the nickname ‘amazing Grace ‘and not without good reason. She was said to be one of the first women to achieve a PHD in mathematics and she also made computer accessible to the general public through various programs.
As a professor of psychology, this amazing woman is probably the reason why we understand the complexities of other animal minds such as the chimpanzee. She conducted a research with 11 chimpanzees after which she made the discovery that they have the ability to so simple arithmetic and share a few traits with human toddlers.
Shirley Ann Jackson
This woman is the second African American woman to earn a doctorate in Physics. as she said herself she addresses complex problems by ‘having an intuition about the answer and by learning to break the problems down into parts that can more easily be solved .’ She also said she views herself as both a pragmatist and a visionary .
Women have been creating change since time immemorial and science is not an exception. All you need to do is believe in yourself and make the efforts and you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Just like these amazing women, be the change you want to see in the world and remember that being female is not an excuse to hold back on achieving your dreams.
By Hauwa Saleh