Although women have participated in science, technology, engineering, and math for as long as the subjects have existed, only in recent years has it become normalized. We are still a long way off from full representation in STEM, but have made great strides, and in order to recognize this progress, here are a few of the greatest milestones for women in STEM throughout history.
4th Century - Hypatia of Alexandria, a prominent mathematician, heads her city’s school of philosophy, the first woman in such a position
18th Century - the Enlightenment brings new opportunities for women in science, including professorships, recognition, and the ability to work independently
23 January 1849 - Elizabeth Blackwell is the first woman to earn a medical degree in the United States
December 1903 - Marie Curie is recognized with the Nobel Prize in Physics for work on radiation, and is the first woman to receive a Nobel in any category
1939-45 - Women take on new STEM positions during World War II, including Grace Hopper and Rachel Carson, and many continue with them after the war is over
1972 - Title IX guarantees education without sex discrimination
2017 - For the first time, women make up the majority of first-year medical students, with mathematics and physical sciences being on track to follow suit
These are just a few of the incredible gains women have fought for throughout history in order to participate in STEM fields, and there is no doubt that this will continue. However, it is imperative to this progress that we continue to support and encourage more women to pursue their dreams in STEM and set a precedent for future generations.