Women in STEM: Famous Female Scientists

What Does STEM Mean?


women in stem - young girl studying science
Women in STEM - young scientist

You may have heard the phrases “STEM jobs” or “STEM education”, but do you actually know what STEM means? STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. So STEM education revolves around the learning and teaching of these topics. STEM is often associated with being key to innovation, which is why you may have heard the acronym so frequently.


Due to STEM’s great innovation potential, some believe that STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) should be fully integrated into a child’s education. The involvement of these STEM subjects in everyday learning life will encourage young people to take up a career in STEM.


Women in STEM


woman in stem and science - working in a warehouse in engineering
Women in STEM - woman in engineering

It is a known fact that STEM careers, including computer science and medicine, are male-dominated. For years, women have been underrepresented in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics based higher education courses and occupations.


There are little women in STEM further education. In 2019, only 26% of core STEM university graduates were women. Although this number has increased by a couple thousand from 2015, it is still extremely low compared to men graduating in these subjects.


Moving on to women in science careers, figures display similar outcomes to further education. In engineering careers, although the number of women working in these roles has doubled in the last decade, the overall percentage split of women to men is still considerably low. 10% of people working in engineering were women.


However, now a days, many STEM occupations are looking to employ much more women in order to boost diversity within the workplace. If you are a woman looking into a STEM-based career, look for companies which make increased effort to include women into their workforce.


women in science - in a laboratory
Women in STEM - scientist in laboratory

The involvement of women in STEM has increased in the past decade. But from the STEM statistics above, it is obvious that there is still more that has to be done to close the gender gap within STEM careers and further education.


Women in STEM: Famous Female Scientists


Although there may be little women in STEM careers, it does not mean there hasn't been pioneering women who have changed the STEM world for good. There are still hundreds of women in STEM who go relatively unknown throughout history, so here is a list of some amazing women who you may not know about:


1. Rita Levi-Montalcini

Rita, an Italian neurologist, won a Nobel Prize in 1986 for her work on Nerve Growth Factor. This discovery led to other work on how that growth can go wrong in diseases such as dementia and cancer.


2. Sara Seagar

Born in 1971, this woman in science has already discovered over 715 planets whilst working with Kepler Space Telescope. She is known for her theoretical work on detecting chemical signatures on exoplanet atmospheres - pretty cool!


3. Jennifer Doudna

The inventor of ground-breaking technology around editing genomes, Doudna is considered one of the greatest living scientists. Her work could potential lead towards the cure of genetic deformities and diseases like cancer.


4. Sunetra Gupta

This woman in STEM's core interest is infectious diseases such as HIV, Malaria, and Influenza. Her work during the COVID-19 pandemic has seen her become an outspoken critic of the government response to national lockdowns and other restriction.


5. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

Elizabeth was the first ever woman to qualify in the UK as a doctor. She opened the St Mary's Dispensary for Women and Children in London and co-founded the London School of Medicine for Women. What a pioneering woman in STEM!


Rewise Learning: Women in STEM


We hope our blog on women in STEM has inspired you to look into STEM based roles. If you are interested in topics like engineering and computer coding, we have a great STEM kits which may lead you into a love for STEM. Check out our learning store below:





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