2018 is The Year of Women and there’s already been a focus on celebrating women in STEM and their contributions in modern day science. However, 2018 is not the year of the woman, especially not in science.
The inspiring fact is that women have been making industry-forming discoveries long before 2018. For international women’s day, we highlighted some of the inspiring recognition of women throughout the history of science, as well as some of the inspirational women we’ve worked with.
Famous for being forgotten, Rosalind Franklin did not get the same recognition as Francis and Crick, yet her findings helped define our modern understanding of genetics. Her discovery of the structure of DNA and the pioneering use of X-ray diffraction has made her infamous in life science.
WWII opened the door for women like Gertrude Elion to develop careers in science. As a chemist, she developed drug treatments for many major diseases, including Malaria and AIDS. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or medicine in 1988 and remains a pioneer in drug development.
"Oxford Housewife wins Nobel" was how the press announced Dorothy Hodgkin’s use of protein crystallography to identify the structure of substances including penicillin and vitamin B12. She was the third woman to win the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964.
Australian Elizabeth Blackburn is credited with her research into telomeres (the protective “caps” on the end of chromosomes), as well as her discovery of the enzyme telomerase. This earnt her the Nobel prize in Physiology or medicine in 2009.
Ahead of her time, it took several years for Barbara McClintock's work to be recognised, but eventually earned her numerous awards, including being the first solo female winner of the Nobel prize in Physiology of Medicine in 1983.
These inspirational women have paved the way for millions of women in science that are continuing to make waves as they develop careers in life science.
There are still no doubt challenges for women in science jobs; from gender parity and the pay gap debate, through to subtle instances of sexism in the lab and representation of women in STEM management roles. However, for every frustration in building a career in STEM, there is an inspirational story of successful women in science loving what they do and changing the world we cohabit.
We spoke to some of our life science recruitment candidates that we’ve helped pursue their careers within the life sciences. We asked them about the good, the bad and the unexpected as they’ve climbed the science career ladder. Take a look at these first-hand stories of women working in science.
Know an inspiration scientist who happens to be female or have any of your own stories to share? We’d love to hear from you.
Feeling inspired to pursue and develop your own career in life sciences? Take a look at the latest life science jobs from our specialist life science recruiters.