Women Changed Science

Did you know that February 11th is International Day of Women and Girls in Science? Whether you’re a woman working in this vital area or you have a sister/mother/daughter/aunt/friend/colleague who is, this annual observation is the perfect day to give yourself (or someone else) a pat on the back. It’s also an ideal opportunity to honor the many women whose contributions to science continue to improve our lives today.

We’re all familiar with the names Marie Curie and Maria Montessori, but they’re far from alone. Here’s a closer look at eight other pioneering women in science, along with why the contributions of women are more necessary than ever moving forward.

1. Virginia Apgar: Medicine

Determined to be a surgeon despite her gender and financial problems, Dr. Virginia Apgar persevered to become the first woman at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons to earn the distinction of full professor. In her work at Columbia, she designed and introduced the APGAR Score which is still used all over the world as a standardized method for evaluating newborn health. Apgar later earned a master’s degree in public health, and received many awards and honors for her work toward the prevention of birth defects.

2. Bertha Parker Pallan: Archeology

While Pallan followed in the footsteps of her archaeologist father, the inaugural president of the Society for American Archaeology, she earned recognition in her own right. According to Adafruit, “Bertha Parker Pallan Thurston Cody is notable in the field of archaeology for her role as a groundbreaker: she was one of the first (if not the first) Native American female archaeologists. She was certainly first in her ability to conduct this work at a high level of skill, yet without a university education, making discoveries and gaining insights that impressed the trained archaeologists around her.”