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Generally, the field of Mathematics, science and Physics was closed to women for a very long time. However there has been treamendous improvement in terms of participation and contributions of women to the field in the twentieth century…
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Women in Mathematics, Science & Engineering
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Download file to see previous pages Lewis (2011) documents 10 women who have made contributions to the field of mathematics for as early as 355 AD. These women include Hypatia of Alexandria (370 – 415 AD), a Greek philosopher, astronomer, mathematician, Elena Cornaro Piscopia (1646-1684) an Italian mathematician, theologian and Composer, Maria Agnesi (1718-1799) an Italian claimed to be the first woman university of mathematics. Others include,Sophie Germain (1776-1830) a French mathematician, Mary Fairfax Somerville (1780-1872) a Scottish and British mathematician also known as "Queen of Nineteenth Century Science," Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) a whose the Ada computer language after, Charlotte Angas Scott(1848-1931) an English, American mathematician and educator, Sofia Kovalevskaya (1850-1891) a Russian mathematician, Alicia Stott (1860-1940) an English mathematician and Amalie Emmy Noether (1882-1935) a German, Jewish, American mathematician (Etzkowitz, Kemelgor and Uzzi 45-100). Notably there are a number of women who have participated and made considerable contridutions in the field of sciences as early as the medieval age. Trotula di Ruggiero was the chair at the Medical School of Salerno in the 11th century. She has been credited in influential texts in obstetrics and gynecology (Leigh 65-80). Dorotea Bucca was also the chair of philosophy and medicine at the University of Bologna from 1390. Other women physicians from Italy included Abella, Jacobina Felicie, Alessandra Giliani, Rebecca de Guarna, Margarita, Mercuriade, Constance Calenda, and Calrice di Durisio among others. The participation and contribution of these Italian women physician was attributed to the liberal approach of the Italian Universities. Other notable achievements by women in science and physics in the nineteenth century include Florence Nightingale credited in pioneering nursing as a discipline; she was also a pioneer in public health and a statistician. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson was the first British woman with medical 1865. In America it was Elizabeth Blackwell. Astronomical photography was also pioneered by Annie Scott Dill Maunder. In the 20th century women notables in science include Marie Curie a Nobel price winner in Physics in 1903 (physics), and chemistry in 1911. In 1939, Lise Meitner credited for pioneering nuclear fission. Margaret Fountaine has made significant contributions in botany and entomology (Leigh 65-80). An analysis of female Nobel Prize laureates’ shows out of the fourty one women who have won the prestigious award between 1901 and 2010, sixteen of them have been in the field physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine (Ruth 100-150). Despite the above success stories there are several challenges that have inhibited women from pursuing Sciences and Mathematics. They include stereotypes, cultural practices, social prejudices, preferences and tastes, family orientation, the church etc. For instance St Thomas Aquinas was of the view that women were incapable of holding positions of authority, some cultures discourage women from participation in fields and activities regarded to as manly, some prejudices that a female is a weaker sex thus cannot comprehend technical aspects of science, there are workplace discrimination based on gender etc. (Ruth 100-150). 2.0 Challenges, issues and opportunities The issues of underrepresentation by women in sciences start early. In the US, girls account for athird of the students opting for physics at the high-school level. Those who secure placement in computer ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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