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
Erasing Women from Science? There’s a Name for That
March 20, 2021
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.
Before the Civil War, Women Were Welcomed into the Sciences
August 21, 2017
Women in the STEM fields are reclaiming the memory of a richer scientific past than some might think.
How Women Finally Broke Into the Sciences
December 23, 2016
Women finally broke into the sciences in sex-segregated jobs in the years between 1880 and 1910.
How Three Women Led the Fight against Pertussis
March 21, 2021
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.
The Forgotten Women Physicians of World War I
February 10, 2017
For women physicians, WWI was an opportunity for service that highlighted their deeply ambiguous position, as Ellen More explained in a 1989 paper.
The “Doctress” Was In: Rebecca Lee Crumpler
March 9, 2020
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
Giving Overdue Credit to Early Archaeologists’ Wives
March 12, 2021
These women labored alongside their famous husbands to produce world-renowned research.
The Women Who Made Male Astronomers’ Ambitions Possible
November 26, 2018
In the late 19th century, Elizabeth Campbell helped her astronomer husband run the Lick Observatory and lead scientific eclipse-viewing expeditions.
How Women Helped to Develop the First Spacesuit
April 7, 2019
NASA recently cancelled an all-female spacewalk, citing a lack of spacesuits. Ironically, women played a key role in creating the very first spacesuits.
Chien-Shiung Wu, the First Lady of Physics
May 21, 2021
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, Queen of 19th Century Science
March 2, 2016
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, Forgotten Naturalist
May 31, 2018
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
How the Mercury 13 Fought to Get Women in Space
October 1, 2020
In 1962, the House of Representatives convened a special subcommittee to determine if women should be admitted into NASA’s space program.
Valentina Tereshkova and the American Imagination
November 13, 2018
Remembering the Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space, and how she challenged American stereotypes.
America’s First Woman Astronomer
August 1, 2018
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.
Ynés Mexía: Botanical Trailblazer
September 29, 2020
This Mexican-American botanist fought against the harshness of both nature and society to follow her passion for plant collecting.
Sara Plummer Lemmon: Pioneering Botanist
March 11, 2015
Botany didn’t just intrigue and entertain Sara Plummer Lemmon—it deeply affected her personal life.
The Beaufort Botanist and Her “Innocent Diversion”
March 5, 2019
Despite the twelve volume herbarium she created, this seventeenth-century scientist earned little recognition.
Florence Nightingale, Data Visualization Visionary
August 30, 2020
The woman who revolutionized nursing was also a mathematician who knew the power of a visible representation of information.
The Woman Who Found the Earth’s Inner Core
March 26, 2019
Inge Lehmann was the seismologist and mathematician who figured out what the Earth's core was actually made of.
Ada Lovelace, Pioneer
October 8, 2019
Ada Lovelace wrote extensive notes on the world’s first computer. Her innovations foreshadowed those used in twentieth-century PCs.
Women in Fieldwork
Women’s Fight for Scientific Fieldwork
August 10, 2016
How did women scientists fit into the naturalists and botanist mix during their earliest days in the field?
Margaret S. Collins, Pioneering Black Entomologist
February 19, 2020
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.
The Female Fossilist Who Became a Jurassic Period Expert
March 12, 2019
Dressed in a petticoat and bonnet, Mary Anning climbed precarious cliffs to find prehistoric fossils.
The Woman Agrostologist Who Held the Earth Together
March 19, 2019
When government wouldn't fund female fieldwork, Agnes Chase pulled together her own resources.
Women You Should Know
Six Women in Science You Should Know
March 23, 2017
Six female scientists—historical and contemporary—who don’t have much name recognition but who have done important, interesting work.
3 Women Explorers You Should Know
December 17, 2015
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
January 5, 2022
A guided tour of selected luminaries of astronomy, from Ancient Greece to today.
Seven Beautiful Illustrations of Women Scientists You Should Know
August 8, 2017
When we talk about inspiring girls to study STEM, do we also consider how important it is to ...