Let’s hear it for the pioneering women who helped to change the world, through their knowledge and application of STEM.
During times when women were marginalised, they didn’t always receive the credit they deserved, but we honour them here.
Here is the second half of our list of 10 STEM superwomen:
1. Maria Montessori
First woman to enter medical school in Italy, qualified in 1896. Interested in psychology and child development, she realised that children could educate themselves through activities encouraging natural development and practical discovery. The Montessori Method revolutionised pre-school and primary education. Prince William’s son, George, attends a Montessori nursery.
2. Lise Meitner
Austrian-Swedish scientist who worked in radioactivity and nuclear physics. Meitner first discovered nuclear fission of uranium, which releases tremendous energy. This was of huge importance and impact, and is the basis of nuclear power and weapons. First woman in Germany to become a full professor in the 1930s. Ultimately, she fled to Sweden in the 30s, and then to the UK.
3. Steve Shirley
World’s first freelance programmer. ‘Stephanie’ started signing herself ‘Steve’ and found that people took her more seriously. She founded the software company F.I. Group in 1962. It was amongst the UK’s earliest start-ups, writing software only, run by women engineers who worked from home — all revolutionary at the time, and now, more commonplace.
4. Rachel Carson
Marine biologist and conservationist, is credited with initiating the global environmental movement and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Especially concerned with the dangerous ecological effects of pesticides like DDT, her book Silent Spring (1962) led to a ban on their use. The Green Party might not have existed without her influence.
5. Ellen Stofan
First female Chief Scientist at NASA (to Dec 2016) and She has researched the geology of Mars, Venue, Titan (Saturn’s moon) and Earth. She said we might be forming extra-terrestrial settlements within 10-20 years, starting on Mars. Of her women colleagues, she stated: “We are here, we are doing amazing science, and we are the role models for the next generation of STEM girls.”
Now you know their names, find out more about these amazing women. Take inspiration from them to do great things, yourself. Find 10 more!