Women’s History Month provides an opportunity to commemorate the contributions made by women over many generations. Starting as a week-long celebration in the late 1970s, Women’s History Month has become a phenomenon that highlights and celebrates achievements made by women across the world.
But while progress has been made in recent years, a gender imbalance continues to exist in STEM. Data collated by the National Science Foundation shows that while 57 percent of all bachelor’s degrees earned in 2013 were earned by women, the number of women in certain fields was considerably lower, such as computer science (18 percent), engineering (19 percent), and the physical sciences (39 percent). And while women make up half of the country’s total college-educated workforce, they only hold 29 percent of the jobs in science and engineering.
Penn Today asked five Penn researchers about the women in STEM who have been a source of inspiration and encouragement throughout their own careers. Their responses include active researchers who have paved the way for better inclusion in STEM and famous female scientists from the past who broke boundaries as they made strides with their research.
For more stories about pioneering women in STEM, follow the #WomenofPenn campaign, a year-long effort to highlight the enterprising women working at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine.