Female Scientists Winning the Nobel Prize: Still Struggling

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Female Scientists Winning the Nobel Prize

On the occasion of the International Women’s Day, we wanted to somehow honor all those women who had devoted their lives to Science.

It was quite a challenge to pick a few who could represent them all since there are many and the number keeps growing every day.

This tweet-feed from @mikamckinnon triggered our interest. She goes through Nobel Prize data and pulls out some striking facts about the women’s role in the renowned Swedish awards. We strongly recommend you to read the whole of it.

This one was especially revealing:

Being awarded the Nobel Prize is the epitome of any scientist career, man or woman. But it’s been even more challenging for women to be recognized with the Swedish award.

The data speaks for itself. Between 1901 and 2016, the Nobel Prizes and the Prize in Economic Sciences were awarded 579 times and won by 911 Laureates.

But how many of them were women?

Only 49. The Nobel Prize and the Prize in Economic Sciences was awarded to women only 49 times and only one woman, Mary Curie, has been honored twice. This means that 48 women in total have achieved the Noble Prize so far.

In other words, only 5.38% of the winners of the Nobel Prize were women (versus a smashing 94.62% of men).

The numbers get even thinner if we focus on the so-called scientific prizes. The Nobel has 6 different categories: Chemistry (4 women laureates), Economy (1), Literature (14), Peace (16), Physics (2), and Physiology & Medicine (12). Over the 49 female laureates, only 19 were scientists.

These are the 19 women we picked. Because at such a day it’s important that we know them, remember them, and acknowledge their hard work and discoveries. A life devoted to science.

 

Chemistry Nobel Prize

1. Marie Curie

Marie Curie Nobel Prize Chemistry

2. Irène Joliot-Curie

irène joliot curie nobel prize

3. Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Nobel Prize

Original Source: Flickr User Biblioteca UPM

4. Ada E. Yonath

Ada Yonath Nobel Prize

Original Source: Chemical Heritage Foundation

 

Prize in Economic Sciences

1. Elinor Ostrom

Elinor Ostrom Nobel Prize

Original Source: Wikipedia user Prolineserver

 

Physics Nobel Prize

1. Marie Curie

Marie Curie Nobel Prize Physics

2. Maria Goeppert Mayer

Maria Goeppert Mayer Nobel

Original Source: US Federal Government

 

Physiology & Medicine Nobel Prize

1. Gerty Theresa Cori

Gerty Theresa Cori Nobel Prize

Original Source: US Federal Government

2. Rosalyn Sussman Yalow

Rosalyn Yalow Nobel Prize

Original Source: US Federal Government

3. Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock Nobel Prize

Original Source: Smithsonian Institution

4. Rita Levi-Montalcini

Rita Levi-Montalcini Nobel Prize

Original Source: Presidenza della Repubblica

5. Gertrude Belle Elion

Gertrude Elion Nobel Prize

Original Source: Unknown Author

6. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard Nobel Prize

Original Source: Wikipedia User Rama

7. Linda Brown Buck

Linda Buck Nobel Prize

Original Source: Wikipedia User Royal Society Uploader

8. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi

Françoise Barré-Sinoussi Nobel Prize

Original Source: Flickr User Michael Fleshman

9. Elizabeth Blackburn & Carol Widney Greider

Elizabeth Blackburn & Carol Greider Nobel Prize

Original Source: Wikipedia User Gerbil

10. May-Britt Moser

May Britt Moser Nobel Prize

Original Source: Flickr User NTNU Medisin Og Helse

11. Youyou Tu

Youyou Tu Nobel Prize

Original Source: Wikipedia User Bengt Nyman

One may think that, like society, Nobel Prizes are ‘getting equal’. Although numbers are changing, they aren’t changing fast enough. As a matter of fact, between 2001 and 2016, while 19 of the laureates were women, men still were the majority with 166 laureates. This means that only 11.45% of the winners were women.

It’s now our time to reclaim women’s place in the Nobel Prize, Science, and society.

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Additional Attributions:

  • Linda Buck & YouYou Tu License
  • Dorothy Hodgkin & Françoise Sinoussi License
  • Blackburn & Greider License