Celebrate Women’s History Month with these features of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. We hope that these stories will give context to the history of women in STEM, recognize their contributions around the world, and encourage up and coming women and girls in these fields.

History of Women in STEM

Matilda Joslyn Gage

Erasing Women from Science? There’s a Name for That

Countless women scientists have have been shunted to the footnotes, with credit for their work going to male colleagues. This is called the Matilda Effect.
Urania painting

Before the Civil War, Women Were Welcomed into the Sciences

Women in the STEM fields are reclaiming the memory of a richer scientific past than some might think.
Harvard Observatory, 1899

How Women Finally Broke Into the Sciences

Women finally broke into the sciences in sex-segregated jobs in the years between 1880 and 1910.

Healthcare Heroines

This 1964 poster featured what at that time, was CDC’s national symbol of public health, the “Wellbee”, who here was reminding the public to get a booster vaccination.

How Three Women Led the Fight against Pertussis

As whooping cough killed thousands of kids annually, a trio of public health workers were deeply involved in the production and distribution of a vaccine.
Rosalie Slaughter Morton and Anne Morgan, an American philanthropist, in 1918

The Forgotten Women Physicians of World War I

For women physicians, WWI was an opportunity for service that highlighted their deeply ambiguous position, as Ellen More explained in a 1989 paper.
The cover page of Rebecca Lee Crumpler's book

The “Doctress” Was In: Rebecca Lee Crumpler

The first Black woman physician served communities in the South after the Civil War but was buried in an anonymous grave. That will likely change.

The Women Behind The Scenes

Family photo with Heinrich and Sophia Schliemann, 1871

Giving Overdue Credit to Early Archaeologists’ Wives

These women labored alongside their famous husbands to produce world-renowned research.
Lick Observatory

The Women Who Made Male Astronomers’ Ambitions Possible

In the late 19th century, Elizabeth Campbell helped her astronomer husband run the Lick Observatory and lead scientific eclipse-viewing expeditions.
Astronauts Anne McClain during her ASCAN EVA Skills 3 Training. Photographer: Lauren Harnett

How Women Helped to Develop the First Spacesuit

NASA recently cancelled an all-female spacewalk, citing a lack of spacesuits. Ironically, women played a key role in creating the very first spacesuits.

Unrecognized Talent

Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu

Chien-Shiung Wu, the First Lady of Physics 

Chien-Shiung Wu disproved a fundamental law of physics—a stunning achievement that helped earn her male colleagues (but not her) a Nobel Prize.
Mary Somerville

Mary Somerville, Queen of 19th Century Science

Mary Somerville, one of the first women scientists and science writers, came to be known after her death as the "queen of 19th century science." 
Susan Fenimore Cooper bluebird

Susan Fenimore Cooper, Forgotten Naturalist

Susan Fenimore Cooper, known as her father James Fenimore Cooper's secretary, is now being recognized as one of the nation's first environmentalists.

Women in Space

Jerrie Cobb poses next to a Mercury spaceship capsule.

How the Mercury 13 Fought to Get Women in Space

In 1962, the House of Representatives convened a special subcommittee to determine if women should be admitted into NASA’s space program.
Illustrated portrait of Russian astronaut Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina Tereshkova and the American Imagination

Remembering the Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, and how she challenged American stereotypes.
Maria Mitchell

America’s First Woman Astronomer

Maria Mitchell became famous when she discovered a comet in 1847. She didn't stop there, fighting for education and equality for women in the sciences.

Brilliant Botanists

Ynés Mexía

Ynés Mexía: Botanical Trailblazer

This Mexican-American botanist fought against the harshness of both nature and society to follow her passion for plant collecting.
Sara Plummer Lemmon Botanist

Sara Plummer Lemmon: Pioneering Botanist

Botany didn’t just intrigue and entertain Sara Plummer Lemmon—it deeply affected her personal life.
Mary Somerset

The Beaufort Botanist and Her “Innocent Diversion”

Despite the twelve volume herbarium she created, this seventeenth-century scientist earned little recognition. 

Data Experts

"Diagram of the causes of mortality in the army in the East" by Florence Nightingale, 1858

Florence Nightingale, Data Visualization Visionary

The woman who revolutionized nursing was also a mathematician who knew the power of a visible representation of information.
A model showing the layers of Earth

The Woman Who Found the Earth’s Inner Core

Inge Lehmann was the seismologist and mathematician who figured out what the Earth's core was actually made of.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ada_Lovelace_portrait.jpg

Ada Lovelace, Pioneer

Ada Lovelace wrote extensive notes on the world’s first computer. Her innovations foreshadowed those used in twentieth-century PCs.

Women in Fieldwork

Agnes Chase

Women’s Fight for Scientific Fieldwork

How did women scientists fit into the naturalists and botanist mix during their earliest days in the field?
Termites

Margaret S. Collins, Pioneering Black Entomologist

She was the first African American woman to earn a PhD in entomology as well as an activist for freedom in the Civil Rights Movement.
Mary Anning

The Female Fossilist Who Became a Jurassic Period Expert

Dressed in a petticoat and bonnet, Mary Anning climbed precarious cliffs to find prehistoric fossils.
Mary Agnes Chase collecting plants in Brazil in 1929.

The Woman Agrostologist Who Held the Earth Together

When government wouldn't fund female fieldwork, Agnes Chase pulled together her own resources.

Women You Should Know

Ada Yonath

Six Women in Science You Should Know

Six female scientists—historical and contemporary—who don’t have much name recognition but who have done important, interesting work.
Marianne North, Katherine Routledge and Delia Akeley

3 Women Explorers You Should Know

Their names may not be widely recognized, but these three intrepid women explorers deserved broader acclaim for their accomplishments.

Eight Women Astronomers You Should Know

A guided tour of selected luminaries of astronomy, from Ancient Greece to today.
Rosalind Franklin

Seven Beautiful Illustrations of Women Scientists You Should Know

When we talk about inspiring girls to study STEM, do we also consider how important it is to ...
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