8 women in STEM who have paved the way for future generations!

  • Hannah Picton

06 Mar 2020

The 8 of March is International Women’s Day, which is an ideal time to reflect on all the brilliant women who have shaped how we live now – especially those who you may not have heard of before

We know that more needs to be done when it comes to supporting women and girls to go into STEM-based education and careers, but it’s important to celebrate that there have been, and still are, many women who have had a significant impact on the sector. We’ve pulled together a list featuring just a handful of these women, but there are so many more out there! Let us know who would appear on your list by tweeting us

Tu Youyou 

Winner of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (2015) for her work in identifying a compound which has helped to combat Malaria which ““led to the survival and improved health of millions of people”. Tu is the first scientist from mainland China to receive a Prize in this category. It is also of note that she won the Prize without a doctorate or medical degree.

Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock, MBE

A leading British space scientist whose work includes building satellites to help us better understand the universe. Aderin-Pocock is also a famous science communicator, including being a presenter at BBC4’s Sky at Night. 

Katherine Johnson

Johnson’s mathematical contributions include not only helping NASA to get an astronaut into space, Project Mercury, but also then helping them to get them onto the moon, Apollo 11. Johnson was awarded the Presidential medal of Freedom in 2015 for her work. 

Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Bell Burnell an astrophysicist originally from Northern Ireland, who won a $3 million award for her work on spinning stars made up of neutrons (called Pulsars). Bell Burnell was also the the first female president of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Institute of Physics. 

Professor Shubha Tole

A neuroscientist and professor at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research based in India. Dr Tole also won the prestigious Infosys Prize in 2014 for her work on the brain that is developed within the embryo. 

Dr Nergis Mavalvala

Dr Mavalvala is a Pakistani-American astrophysicist, self-described as an “out, queer person of color.”, and a MacArthur Fellow and whose research on gravitational waves is renowned.

Nettie Stevens

Stevens research in the 20th century onto cytology is credited with identifying the x and y chromosomes. This finding has since inspired many other discoveries about the importance of chromosomes and inheritance. 

Maryam Mirzakhani

Mirzakhani was a mathematician and professor at Stanford University. In 2014 she was the first (and only to date) woman and the first Iranian to be awarded with the most prestigious award within mathematics – the Fields Medal. 


Check out these links for more fantastic women in STEM!