5 Female Pioneers in Science and Technology | Women’s Rolemodels
5 Female Pioneers in Science and Technology
Women’s role models are often supermodels, actresses, and occasionally politicians, but as the gender gap clearly shows, women less often look up to scientists, inventors, astronauts, and architects. While, Audrey Hepburn, and Angelina Jolie make great role models, the following includes a list of a few women who made their mark, not primarily with their face, but with their brains. While you probably know about Marie Curie, Amelia Earhart, and Valentina Tereshkova, the following include a few female pioneers in STEM that you’ve probably never heard of.
In 1847, Elizabeth Blackwell became the first woman to study at a medical school in the United States, although she was accepted as a fluke after students polled about her acceptance thought it was a joke. Despite the often rude and audacious behavior of her fellow all-male student body, Elizabeth eventually had a good effect on the other students, calming them and turning a once rowdy lecture hall into a quiet room of students. When asked to skip attending the class on reproduction, because the instructor thought it would be too vulgar for her delicate mind, Blackwell attended anyway. She worked at local poorhouse medical centers between her study, and slowly gained acceptance in the college itself, if not in the rest of the world. When she graduated, she continued her studies in Europe, where she was declared as one of the best obstetricians of the time. She eventually opened her own practice, aided nursing efforts during the Civil War, and participated in social and medical reform.
An influential scholar and lecturer, Annie Peck showed that not only can women have brains, they can also be strong. Annie scaled all of the major mountains in Europe and was the first person to climb the highest mountain in South America, Mt. Huscaran. She published multiple books, and continued her climbing career until she was 82 years old. This was in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
Most of us have never heard of Ada Lovelace, but she is an incredible women’s rolemodel. Born in 1815 and dying a short time later in 1852 Ada made her mark in mathematics, a field that women are traditionally ‘not good at’. At this time when women had to fight to even get an education beyond basic bookkeeping and reading, Ada created an algorithm that is today recognized as the first computer program, an algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. Her mother had taught her mathematics in an attempt to make her more rational, as opposed to her father Lord Byron, the famous poet, but eventually believed that her obsession with numbers made her more evil than he ever was. However, Adas vision and notes are the first view of computers as anything other than calculators, making Ada a true visionary.
You often hear of the Wright Brothers, but Lilian Bland is a much better rolemodel for women. In 1910, her desire to fly a plane led her to build her own, and lacking a fuel tank, she used a whiskey bottle and an ear trumpet. As one of the first women to design a plane, and the first to design, build, and fly a plane, Lilian stands out as one of the pioneer aviation engineers.
Hedy Lamarr was born in 1914 and became an actress and movie star. What makes her stand out, her co-creation of a frequency hopping program with George Antheil, which later became the basis for spread spectrum, which is used in almost all communications technologies today, including WiFi. Hoping to get credit for her invention at the time, Hedy was denied entrance to the society of inventors, and instead told to use her celebrity status as an actress to sell war bonds.