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Women in science

This topic guide covers resources and organizations about women in Science and Engineering.


Gender ratio for select majors at Stanford 2015-2016


Awards and prizes / recognition and accomplishments

Frances Arnold, Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018

Donna Strickland, Nobel Prize in Physics 2018

A Door in the Dream
Washington, D.C. : Joseph Henry Press, c2000.
Science Library (Li and Ma) » Stacks » QH26 .W375 2000
"A collection of personal stories of the few women scientists who have achieved the honour of election to the prestigious National Academy of Sciences. Including several Nobel laureates, the career profiles and personal interviews have much to say to those struggling to overcome obstacles. From their passionate love of research to their struggle to balance the demands of home and career, the women share a great deal. At the same time, the portraits offer different insights about how being female has affected their careers." (Nielsen Book Data)
Nobel prize women in science
Rev. ed., 2nd ed., Carol Pub. Group ed. Secaucus, N.J. : Carol Pub. Group, 1998.
Green Library » Stacks » Q141 .M358 1998
"Since 1901 there have been over three hundred recipients of the Nobel Prize in the sciences. Only ten of them -- about 3 percent -- have been women. Why? In this updated version of Nobel Prize Women in Science, Sharon Bertsch McGrayne explores the reasons for this astonishing disparity by examining the lives and achievements of fifteen women scientists who either won a Nobel Prize or played a crucial role in a Nobel Prize - winning project. The book reveals the relentless discrimination these women faced both as students and as researchers. Their success was due to the fact that they were passionately in love with science." (publisher's description)

Beyond Curie in Augmented Reality


This page includes biographical and historical resources.

Free Posters Celebrating Mighty Women in Science

Designer Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya has created a series of incredible posters celebrating women in science. All posters are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA license.

Katherine Johnson
Rosalind Franklin
Maryam Mirzakhani
May Britt Moser
Chien-Shiung Wu
Mae Jemison

Reference books

American Women of Science Since 1900
Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, c2011.
Green Library » Lane Reading Room: Reference » Q141 .W42 2011 V.1
"This two-volume encyclopedia examines the significant achievements of 500 of the most notable 20th century American women across the sciences—many overlooked, undervalued, or simply not well known. It offers individual features on 50 different scientific disciplines, as well as essays on balancing career and family, girls and science education, and other sociocultural topics." (publisher's description)
Women and gender in science and technology
Green Library » Lane Reading Room: Reference » Q130 .W63 2014 V.1
"The question of gender in science and technology is pursued by scholars from different disciplines and perspectives: historians study the lives of women scientists within the context of institutions that for centuries held women at arm's length; sociologists uncover women's access to the means of scientific production; biologists scrutinize how science has studied female and male bodies; cultural critics explore normative understandings of femininity and masculinity; philosophers and historians of science analyse how gender has influenced the content and methods of science and technology. Now, this new four-volume collection from Routledge enables users to make sense of the interlocking pieces of the gender, science, and technology puzzle: the history of women's participation in science and engineering; the structure of research institutions; and the gendering of human knowledge. The volumes bring together important representative publications treating these issues from antiquity to the present, and across cultures." (publisher's description)

Selected books

"This is the second of two books about African-American female chemists. The first book (African-American Women Chemists, 2011) focused on the early pioneers-women chemists from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Act. African American Women Chemists in the Modern Era focuses on contemporary women who have benefited from the Civil Rights Act and are now working as chemists or chemical engineers. This book was produced by taking the oral history of women who are leaders in their field and who wanted to tell the world how they suceeded. It features eighteen amazing women in this book and each of them has a claim to fame, despite hiding in plain sight. These women reveal the history of their lives from youth to adult. Overall, Jeannette Brown aims to inspire women and minorities to pursue careers in the sciences, as evidenced by the successful career paths of the women that came before them." (publisher's description)
"The history of technology you probably know is one of men and machines, garages and riches, alpha nerds and brogrammers. But the little-known fact is that female visionaries have always been at the vanguard of technology and innovation--they've just been erased from the story. Until now. Women are not ancillary to the history of technology; they turn up at the very beginning of every important wave. But they've often been hidden in plain sight, their inventions and contributions touching our lives in ways we don't even realize." (publisher's description)
"This original graphic novel features famous women scientists including Marie Curie, Emmy Noether, Lise Meitner, Rosalind Franklin, Barbara McClintock, Birute Galdikas, and Hedy Lamarr. The stories offer a human context often missing when we learn about the discoveries attached to these scientists' names. Readers, drawn in by the compelling anecdotes, will discover intriguing characters, while end notes and references will lead them to further information on the scientists they've read about." (publisher's description)
First edition.
Science Library (Li and Ma) » Popular science » Q130 .S93 2015
"Covering Nobel Prize winners and major innovators, as well as lesser-known but hugely significant scientists who influence our every day, Rachel Swaby’s vibrant profiles span centuries of courageous thinkers and illustrate how each one’s ideas developed, from their first moment of scientific engagement through the research and discovery for which they’re best known. This fascinating tour reveals 52 women at their best—while encouraging and inspiring a new generation of girls to put on their lab coats." (publisher's description)
European Women in Chemistry
Weinheim, Germany : Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, [2011], ©2011.
Science Library (Li and Ma) » Stacks » QD20 .E976 2011
"The official book of the EuCheMS societies for the International Year of Chemistry , it provides a collection of lively stories about remarkable European female chemists through the centuries. Some of them are famous and still well-known, such as Nobel prize winner Marie Curie. Others have contributed significantly to science and lived an extraordinary life, but are nowadays not remembered." (Nielsen Book Data)
Forgotten women the scientists
Science Library (Li and Ma) » Popular science » Q141 .T692 2018
Forgotten Women is a new series of books that uncover the lost herstories of influential women who have refused over hundreds of years to accept the hand they've been dealt and, as a result, have formed, shaped and changed the course of our futures. From leaders and scientists to artists and writers, the fascinating stories of these women that time forgot are now celebrated, putting their achievements firmly back on the map. The Scientists celebrates 48 unsung scientific heroines whose hugely important, yet broadly unacknowledged or incorrectly attributed, discoveries have transformed our understanding of the scientific world.
"The phenomenal true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space.  Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.  Among these problem-solvers were a group of exceptionally talented African American women. Originally math teachers in the South’s segregated public schools, these gifted professionals answered Uncle Sam’s call during the labor shortages of World War II. With new jobs at the fascinating, high-energy world of the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in Hampton, Virginia, they finally had a shot at jobs that would push their skills to the limits.  Even as Virginia’s Jim Crow laws required them to be segregated from their white counterparts, the women of Langley’s all-black “West Computing” group helped America achieve one of the things it desired most: a decisive victory over the Soviet Union in the Cold War, and complete domination of the heavens.  Starting in World War II and moving through to the Cold War, the Civil Rights Movement and the Space Race, Hidden Figures follows the interwoven accounts of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden—four African American women who participated in some of NASA’s greatest successes. It chronicles their careers over nearly three decades as they faced challenges, forged alliances, and used their intellect to change their own lives, and their country’s future." (publisher's description)
"The gender gap in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) varies greatly from country to country, and the number of Japanese women in these fields remains relatively few. This prompts us to ask why the proportion of female scientists in Japan is still remarkably low and what measures the government, universities and research institutes are taking to address this issue. This book sheds light on historical developments and the current gender equality situation in Japan, through the lens of women in STEM. It shows how a policy of gender equality in science and engineering has been introduced through the coordinated efforts of academia, scientific societies and the government, and how this has led to a slow but steady increase in female representation." (publisher's description)
Out of the shadows : contributions of twentieth-century women to physics
Cambridge, UK ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Green Library » Stacks » QC15 .O97 2006
"Why are there so few prominent female physicists? Traditionally women have faced barriers in higher education, denying them access to higher learning and scientific laboratories. Today many of these barriers have been breached, but the female pioneers who overcame discrimination and became major players in their fields remain largely in the shadows. Their names deserve to be known and the importance of their work, achievements and contributions to science warrant recognition. This book provides an accurate and authoritative description of the women who made original and important contributions to physics in the twentieth century, documenting their major discoveries and putting their work into its historical context. Each chapter concentrates on a different woman, and is written by a physicist with considerable experience in their field. The book is an ideal reference for anyone with an interest in science and social history." (Nielsen Book Data)
"In this book a group of extraordinary Chicanas trace how their interest in math and science at a young age developed into a passion fed by talent and determination. Today they are teaching at major universities, setting public and institutional policy, and pursuing groundbreaking research. These testimonios-personal stories-will encourage young Chicanas to enter the fields of mathematics, science, and engineering and to create futures in classrooms, boardrooms, and laboratories across the nation." (publisher's description)
"Women have been a part of the story of geology from the beginning, but they have struggled to gain professional opportunities, equal pay, and respect as scientists for decades. Some have been dismissed, some have been forced to work without pay, and some have been denied credit. This volume highlights the progress of women in geology, including past struggles and how remarkable individuals were able to overcome them, current efforts to draw positive attention and perceptions to women in the science, and recruitment and mentorship efforts to attract and retain the next generation of women in geology." (publisher's description)
Women in Engineering: Professional Lives
Reston, Va. : ASCE Press, c2009.
Engineering Library (Terman) » Stacks » TA157 .W676 2009
"This book illuminates the professional lives of today's women engineers through articles, lectures, reports, and essays dating back to the 1920s. The selections in this groundbreaking anthology examine the current state of employment opportunities for women, the gender gap, and opportunities for career advancement for women in engineering. This companion volume to "Women in Engineering: Pioneers and Trailblazers" includes reports from the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor encouraging women to pursue engineering careers during and after World War II; career advice from pioneer Elsie Eaves; and, a retrospective of the Society of Women Engineers' guidance activities. With selections that span a century of historical and social analysis, "Women in Engineering: Professional Life and Women in Engineering: Pioneers and Trailblazers" details the triumphs and challenges women have faced in the engineering field, and brings to vivid life their contributions to engineering, and to history."
Magdolna Hargittai uses over fifteen years of in-depth conversation with female physicists, chemists, biomedical researchers, and other scientists to form cohesive ideas on the state of the modern female scientist. The compilation, based on sixty conversations, examines unique challenges that women with serious scientific aspirations face. In addition to addressing challenges and the unjustifiable underrepresentation of women at the higher levels of academia, Hargittai takes a balanced approach by discussing how some of the most successful of these women have managed to obtain professional success and personal happiness. Women Scientists portrays scientists from different backgrounds, different geographical regions-eighteen countries from four continents-and leaders from a variety of professional backgrounds, including eight Nobel laureate women. The book is divided into three sections: "Husband and Wife Teams, " "Women at the Top, " and "In High Positions."


Statistics and reports


"Between 1996-2000 and 2011-2015, the proportion of women among researchers increases in all 12 comparator countries and regions.  The share of women among researchers differs across fields of research: Health and Life Sciences fields are found to have the highest representation of women.  Women's scholarly output includes a slightly larger proportion of highly interdisciplinary research than men’s.  Women are slightly less likely than men to collaborate across academic and corporate sectors on papers.  Among researchers, women are generally less internationally mobile than men." (website description)
"'Equality is part of quality in science.' Making full use of the potential of both women and men maximizes the quantity and, more importantly, quality of research. Despite the policies and regulations implemented by the European Commission and within individual countries, there are prominent gaps between women and men in terms of the number of scientific researchers, decision-making positions held, and other aspects of career development such as informal networks of collaboration and access to funding.  This report provides evidence and analysis on potential gender gaps in research in Germany by linking data from Scopus®to data from a large online social networking service to identify the gender of German researchers in Scopus®author profiles."


This page includes information about the workforce, work-life balance, and sexual harrassment.

Academic Motherhood
New Brunswick, N.J. : Rutgers University Press, c2012.
Education Library (Cubberley) » Stacks » LB2332.3 .W37 2012
Academic Motherhood tells the story of over one hundred women who are both professors and mothers and examines how they navigated their professional lives at different career stages.  The authors base their findings on a longitudinal study that asks how women faculty on the tenure track manage work and family in their early careers when their children are young, and then again in mid-career when their children are older. The women studied work in a range of institutional settings-research universities, comprehensive universities, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges-and in a variety of disciplines, including the sciences, the humanities, and the social sciences.
"Thousands of gifted individuals, including women and underrepresented minorities, remain a disproportionally small fraction of those in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers. Industry, as the largest employer category of those with STEM backgrounds, stands to benefit considerably from greater inclusion of women and underrepresented minorities in the workforce. However, nothing short of a game-changing environment must be created to harness the talent of those not fully represented in the STEM workforce." (publisher's website).  Available in print and online.
"Despite decades of government, university, and employer efforts to close the gender gap in engineering, women make up only 11 percent of practicing engineers in the United States. What factors influence women graduates' decisions to enter the engineering workforce and either to stay in or leave the field as their careers progress? Researchers are both tapping existing data and fielding new surveys to help answer these questions." (publisher's description).  This book is available in print and online.
"When is the'right'time? How can I meet the demands of a professorship whilst caring for a young family? Choosing to become a mother has a profound effect on the career path of women holding academic positions, especially in the physical sciences. Yet many women successfully manage to do both. In this second edition, which is a project of the Women Chemists Committee (WCC) of the American Chemical Society (ACS), 40 inspirational personal accounts describe the challenges and rewards of combining motherhood with an academic career in chemistry." (publisher's description)
Motherhood in academia
New York : Columbia University Press, c2013.
Education Library (Cubberley) » Stacks » LC1567 .M68 2013
Featuring forthright testimonials by women who are or have been mothers as undergraduates, graduate students, academic staff, administrators, and professors, Mothers in Academia intimately portrays the experiences of women at various stages of motherhood while theoretically and empirically considering the conditions of working motherhood as academic life has become more laborious.
"Over the last few decades, research, activity, and funding has been devoted to improving the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in the fields of science, engineering, and medicine. In recent years the diversity of those participating in these fields, particularly the participation of women, has improved and there are significantly more women entering careers and studying science, engineering, and medicine than ever before. However, as women increasingly enter these fields they face biases and barriers and it is not surprising that sexual harassment is one of these barriers." (publisher's description)
"Underrepresentation of minorities is present in the field of engineering, both in education and practice. As in every profession, diversity and inclusion needs to be incorporated in order to provide the same opportunities for all people. This book is an essential reference work for the latest research on the need for diversity and inclusion within the engineering workforce and provides approaches to restructure engineering education to achieve this goal. Featuring expansive coverage on a broad range of topics including minority recruitment, experiential education systems, and study abroad programs, this book is ideally designed for students, professionals, academic advisors, and recruitment officers seeking current research on ways to diversify engineering education and careers." (publisher's description)
"This updated text contains new and essential chapters on leadership and negotiation, important coverage of career management, networking, social media, communication skills, and more. The work is accompanied by a companion website that contains annotated links, a list of print and electronic resources, self-directed learning objects, frequently asked questions, and more.  With an increased focus on international relevance, this text contains shared stories and vignettes that will help women pursuing or involved in STEM careers develop the necessary professional and personal skills to overcome obstacles to advancement." (publisher's description)  
"Scientific and engineering research is increasingly global, and international collaboration can be essential to academic success. Yet even as administrators and policymakers extol the benefits of global science, few recognize the diversity of international research collaborations and their participants, or take gendered inequalities into account. Women in Global Science is the first book to consider systematically the challenges and opportunities that the globalization of scientific work brings to U.S. academics, especially for women faculty." (publisher's description)  Published by Stanford University Press.

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Subjects in the library catalog

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  • Diversity in the workplace
  • Minorities in science
  • Sex differences in education
  • Sex discrimination in employment
  • Sexual harassment in universities and colleges
  • Sexual harassment of women
  • Women in chemistry
  • Women in engineering
  • Women in higher education
  • Women in mathematics
  • Women in medicine
  • Women in science
  • Women in technology
  • Women in the professions
  • Women astronomers
  • Women biologists
  • Women botanists
  • Women cartographers
  • Women chemists
  • Women computer scientists
  • Women engineers
  • Women geologists
  • Women graduate students
  • Women inventors
  • Women marine biologists
  • Women mathematicians
  • Women molecular biologists
  • Women naturalists
  • Women paleontologists
  • Women physicians
  • Women physicists
  • Women scientists
  • Women statisticians
  • Women's studies