Fabulous women scientists and more for Women’s History Month

March is Women’s History Month. In fact, it is the 30th anniversary of the National Women’s History Project and the them is writing women back into history. The idea is to make it herstory too.

So, I’ve been meaning to do a post because I do think it is important, particularly when it comes to recognizing the amazing contribution of women in science, engineering and math. And then on March 2, 2010 I participated in a Twitter party as part of #gno on getting kids involved in science and math. During the party, we end up talking about how to get girls more involved, and one of the ways I think to get them involved is to our kids about the amazing achievements of women.

So, I thought I would share some of the perhaps not so well known women that have inspired me.

One is Alice Hamilton (1869 – 1970). If you don’t know about her, she was the first woman appointed to the faculty at Harvard University. She was a true pioneer in the field of toxicology. She was a leader in the field of occupational disease. She focused on the plight of workers, linking exposures in the workplace to the diseases they suffered, before occupational health and safety was recognized. Her work lead to reforms, protecting the health of thousands of workers. She is considered the founder of occupational medicine and was the first woman to receive the Lasker Award for public health.

Another is of course Rachel Carson (1907 – 1964). She doesn’t qualify as lesser known, but she is a role model for me. A scientist and ecologist, and she is probably most famous for writing Silent Spring. Silent Spring warned us of the dangers of misusing pesticide, and spurred significant changes in pesticide regulation and a ban on DDT inthe US. It also spurred a grassroot movement for environmental reform.

Another is Gertrude B. Elion (1918 – 1999), an American biochemist and pharmacologist. She developed many new drugs, including one that lead to the development of AZT.

Those are just a few of the women that have inspired me. What about you?

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