What a woman needs is not as a woman to act or rule, but as a nature to grow, as an intellect to discern, as a soul to live freely and unimpeded to unfold such powers as are given to her.

--Margaret Fuller

Women in Science Fields

Combating Discrimination | Science Classrooms | Women in Science Careers | Using Communication Skills | Notable Women

How does one define "science?"

According to the Random House Dictionary of the English Language:
sci-ence (si/ens), n. 1. a branch of knowledge or study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws.

Generally, it is the pursuit of truth, which has been regarded as a noble quest since the first literature appeared somewhere around 2000 B.C. Stone and bone records stretch back further than the first alphabets of great civilizations, but do not mention any recognizable names. However, the first written technical name was the male architect of the first pyramid in Egypt, Imhotep. The second found, around 2354 BC, was female - En Hedu'Anna.

Is this a trend that would be followed throughout the centuries? Do women always take second place? Of course not. Women have questioned and pondered long before even the first writing appeared, at a pace equal to that of men. In fact, most myths and religions credit women deities with the founding or creation of agriculture, laws, civilization, mathematics, calendars, time keeping, and medicine.

If we look one hundred years in the past, the overwhelming majority of scientists were male. Today, the situation has changed dramatically. Jobs in science fields that are usually dominated by white men are becoming more accessible to women. The growing academic pattern shows barriers falling. In 1994, women accounted for fifty-five percent of all college students and fifty-nine percent of those in master's programs. For Ph.D.'s, law degrees, and medical degrees, the proportion of women was about forty percent, a huge rise in a single generation, and it is still climbing.

The single most important achievement, however, is the awareness of the public. The media openly exposes discrimination, and the justice system prosecutes it. Television and movie industries show women as assertive and still feminine, making them accessible for today's youth.

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