Inspired by the work of Jess Wade who added 270 female scientists to Wikipedia within a single year, I am planning a journey of research. Every week of term time, I shall add to a column, titled in true millennial fashion as my #WomanCrushWednesday.
Many of these women have succeeded within a STEM environment favouring the achievements of white men and as a Muslim woman studying biomedical science, I am so motivated by their perseverance and wit. As their names and works are becoming more recognised, I want to share their extraordinary lives.
For instance, did you know that as well as being an accomplished dancer, scholar and doctor, Mae Jemison was the first African American woman to travel in space in 1992? Or that despite early onset rheumatoid arthritis, Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin was an active crystallographer for her entire adult life, becoming the first British woman to win a Nobel Prize.
While these women were more successful, there are others like Rosalind Franklin. She produced the evidence of DNA’s helical shape but wasn’t accredited alongside Watson and Crick for the Nobel Prize for this ground-breaking discovery. Or perhaps most heartbreakingly, the film star Hedy Lamarr patented WWII technology that formed the basis of today’s secure WiFi and GPS. Without the legal ability to fight her case, her contribution was unrecognised, arguably contributing to her mental health issues later in life.
These facts merely scratch the surface of the legacies I plan on writing about, so I hope you’ll join me in admiring the women who paved the way for new generations of female scientists. If you have any suggestions or submissions of your own, do email firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Fatima Sheriff