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Female Scientists Winning the Nobel Prize: Still Struggling

Linknovate Team - March 7, 2017 - 0 comments

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 only 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

2. Irène Joliot-Curie

Irène Joliot

3. Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin Nobel Prize

4. Ada E. Yonath

ada yonath

Prize in Economic Sciences

1. Elinor Ostrom

elinor ostrom

Physics Nobel Prize

1. Marie Curie

marie curie

2. Maria Goeppert Mayer

maria goeppert

Physiology & Medicine Nobel Prize

1. Gerty Theresa Cori

gerty theresa cori

2. Rosalyn Sussman Yalow

rosalyn yalow

3. Barbara McClintock

barbara mcclinton

4. Rita Levi-Montalcini

rita levi montalcini

5. Gertrude Belle Elion

gertrude elion

6. Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard

christiane nüsslein

7. Linda Brown Buck

linda buck

8. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi

françoise barré

9. Elizabeth Blackburn & Carol Widney Greider

elizabeth blackburn

10. May-Britt Moser


11. Youyou Tu

youyou tu

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:

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  • Dorothy Hodgkin & Françoise Sinoussi License
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