Throughout history, women have played a pivotal role in influencing the trajectory of science and technology, notwithstanding the frequent oversight or underestimation of their contributions. In contemporary times, an increasing acknowledgment of the pivotal role diversity and inclusion play in these domains has emerged. Consequently, there has been a concerted effort to foster an environment conducive to the active participation of women in science and technology careers, gaining notable momentum in recent decades.

Women have made, and continue to make, countless invaluable contributions to the fields of science and technology, shaping the world we live in today and paving the way for even greater advancements in the future.

Women in Science and Technology

Here are some ways in which women have and continue to shape the future of Science and Technology: 

NameBirth and Death DatesContribution
Ada LovelaceDecember 10, 1815 – November 27, 1852World’s first computer programmer, contributions to Analytical Engine
Marie CurieNovember 7, 1867 – July 4, 1934Groundbreaking contributions to radioactivity, first woman to win Nobel Prize in two scientific disciplines
Rosalind FranklinJuly 25, 1920 – April 16, 1958X-ray crystallographer, contributions to understanding molecular structures, including DNA
Jennifer DoudnaFebruary 19, 1964 – PresentBiochemist, Nobel Prize in Chemistry for CRISPR gene editing
Stephanie Louise KwolekJuly 31, 1923 – June 18, 2014Chemist, inventor of Kevlar, numerous awards for her contributions
Rita Levi-MontalciniApril 22, 1909 – December 30, 2012Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF)
Timnit GebruMay 13, 1983 – PresentComputer scientist, co-founder of Black in AI, significant contributions to AI ethics
Hedy LamarrNovember 9, 1914 – January 19, 2000Actress, co-invented frequency-hopping communication system during WWII
Barbara McClintockJune 16, 1902 – September 2, 1992Cytogeneticist, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for maize cytogenetics

Ada Lovelace (1815-1852) : World’s first computer programmer

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (née Byron; December 10, 1815 – November 27, 1852) was an esteemed English mathematician and writer, widely recognized for her notable contributions to the development of Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, the Analytical Engine. Her groundbreaking insight was the first acknowledgment of the machine’s potential applications beyond pure calculation.

As the sole legitimate offspring of renowned poet Lord Byron and reformer Lady Byron, Ada Byron’s familial background set her apart. In contrast to her half-siblings, who were born out of wedlock to other women, Ada’s legitimacy added a unique dimension to her upbringing. Following her parents’ separation a month after Ada’s birth, Lord Byron departed England permanently, ultimately

Marie Curie

Maria Salomea Skłodowska-Curie, widely recognized as Marie Curie

 was a distinguished Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist renowned for her groundbreaking contributions to the field of radioactivity. She achieved numerous historic milestones in her illustrious career, solidifying her position as a trailblazer in the scientific community.

Marie Curie holds the distinction of being the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize, a feat that marked a significant breakthrough for gender equality in the realm of science. Furthermore, she stands as the sole individual to receive this prestigious accolade twice, and notably, she accomplished this remarkable feat in two distinct scientific disciplines.

Notably, her first Nobel Prize was shared with her husband, Pierre Curie, marking them as the inaugural married couple to jointly receive the Nobel Prize.

This accomplishment laid the foundation for the enduring Curie family legacy, which has seen a total of five Nobel Prizes awarded to its members.

In addition to her outstanding achievements, Marie Curie achieved another pioneering milestone in 1906 when she became the first woman to attain the esteemed position of a professor at the University of Paris. Her enduring legacy and invaluable contributions to the scientific community continue to inspire and shape the landscape of physics and chemistry to this day.

Rosalind Elsie Franklin 

Rosalind Elsie Franklin (25 July 1920 – 16 April 1958) was a distinguished British chemist and X-ray crystallographer whose groundbreaking contributions significantly advanced our comprehension of molecular structures, encompassing DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), RNA (ribonucleic acid), viruses, coal, and graphite.

While her investigations into coal and viruses garnered recognition during her lifetime, Franklin’s pivotal role in unraveling the structure of DNA remained largely unacknowledged. Regrettably, she has since been posthumously characterized as the “wronged heroine,” the “dark lady of DNA,” the “forgotten heroine,” a “feminist icon,” and the “Sylvia Plath of molecular biology.”

Jennifer Doudna

Jennifer Anne Doudna ForMemRS, born on February 19, 1964, is a distinguished American biochemist renowned for her groundbreaking contributions to CRISPR gene editing and her pivotal advancements in the fields of biochemistry and genetics. Notably, she stands as one of the pioneering female scientists to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. In 2020, Doudna, alongside Emmanuelle Charpentier, was honored with the Nobel Prize “for the development of a method for genome editing.”

Currently holding the prestigious Li Ka Shing Chancellor’s Chair Professorship in the departments of chemistry and molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley, Doudna has established herself as a leading figure in the scientific community. Since 1997, she has served as an esteemed investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Doudna’s academic journey includes graduating from Pomona College in 1985 and earning a Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1989. Beyond her role as a professor at Berkeley, she is the founder and chair of the governance board of the Innovative Genomics Institute, a groundbreaking institution co-founded by Doudna in 2014. Furthermore, she holds positions as a faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a senior investigator at the Gladstone Institutes, and an adjunct professor of cellular and molecular pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Her multifaceted contributions and leadership continue to shape the landscape of modern molecular biology and genetic research.

Stephanie Louise Kwolek

Stephanie Louise Kwolek (July 31, 1923 – June 18, 2014) was a distinguished Polish-American chemist celebrated for her groundbreaking contributions, notably the invention of Kevlar. Over the course of a remarkable career spanning more than 40 years at the DuPont company, Kwolek achieved prominence through her discovery of the inaugural member of a novel family of synthetic fibers characterized by unparalleled strength and stiffness—poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide.

In recognition of her pioneering work, Kwolek received the prestigious DuPont company’s Lavoisier Medal for exceptional technical achievement. Remarkably, as of August 2019, she stood as the sole female recipient of this esteemed honor within the company. Furthermore, her enduring legacy was solidified in 1995 when she became the fourth woman to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Kwolek’s impactful contributions to polymer chemistry were acknowledged through an array of accolades, including the National Medal of Technology, the IRI Achievement Award, and the Perkin Medal. Her distinguished career not only left an indelible mark on the scientific community but also paved the way for future generations of women in the field of chemistry.

Rita Levi-Montalcini

Rita Levi-Montalcini OMRI OMCA (22 April 1909 – 30 December 2012), an esteemed Italian neurobiologist, achieved international recognition for her groundbreaking contributions to the field. In 1986, she was honored with the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, a distinction she shared with her colleague Stanley Cohen, for their collaborative discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF).

Beyond her exceptional scientific accomplishments, Levi-Montalcini also held the esteemed position of a Senator for Life in the Italian Senate from 2001 until her passing in 2012. This distinction was a testament to the profound impact of her scientific work and its enduring significance.

Timnit Gebru

Timnit Gebru, born on May 13, 1983, is a distinguished Eritrean Ethiopian-born computer scientist specializing in artificial intelligence (AI), algorithmic bias, and data mining. With a fervent commitment to fostering diversity in technology, she co-founded Black in AI, a community dedicated to supporting Black researchers in the field of AI. Additionally, she is the visionary founder of the Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (DAIR).

In the sphere of AI ethics, Gebru has garnered widespread recognition for her contributions. Fortune acknowledged her as one of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders, while Nature named her among the ten individuals who significantly influenced science in 2021. Further affirming her impact, Time Magazine recognized Gebru as one of the most influential people in 2022.

However, her professional journey faced a notable controversy in December 2020 during her tenure as the technical co-lead of the Ethical Artificial Intelligence Team at Google. The discord arose from her abrupt departure, marked by management’s request to either withdraw an unpublished paper or remove the names of all Google coauthors, citing concerns about the paper’s alignment with recent research. In response, Gebru sought clarity on the decision and cautioned that non-compliance would lead to negotiations for her departure. Subsequently, Google terminated her employment, officially stating they accepted her resignation.

Timnit Gebru’s unwavering dedication to the ethical dimensions of AI, coupled with her notable achievements, positions her as a key figure in the dynamic landscape of artificial intelligence and technology.

Hedy Lamarr : co-invented a frequency-hopping communication system 

Hedy Lamarr, born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler on November 9, 1914, in Austro-Hungary, was a distinguished American actress and technological innovator. Recognized as a prominent figure during Hollywood’s Golden Age, Lamarr’s career spanned various successful films.

Commencing her cinematic journey in Czechoslovakia, Lamarr gained attention with the controversial film “Ecstasy” (1933). Following a tumultuous early marriage to Fritz, a wealthy Austrian ammunition manufacturer, she discreetly relocated to Paris and later traveled to London. In London, she encountered Louis B. Mayer, the head of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), who extended a movie contract, thereby initiating Lamarr’s Hollywood career. 

Her breakthrough role came with the film “Algiers” (1938), marking the commencement of her association with MGM.

Lamarr’s filmography with MGM comprised notable titles such as “Lady of the Tropics” (1939), “Boom Town” (1940), “H. M. Pulham, Esq.” (1941), and “White Cargo” (1942). Her pinnacle achievement came with her portrayal of Delilah in Cecil B. DeMille’s “Samson and Delilah” (1949). Her illustrious acting career extended to television, culminating with her final film, “The Female Animal” (1958). In recognition of her contributions to the entertainment industry, Lamarr was bestowed with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.

Beyond her cinematic endeavors, Lamarr’s legacy extends to her significant role at the onset of World War II. Collaborating with avant-garde composer George Antheil, she played a pivotal role in developing a radio guidance system for Allied torpedoes. This groundbreaking technology utilized spread spectrum and frequency hopping techniques, effectively countering the threat of jamming by the Axis powers. Hedy Lamarr’s multifaceted contributions in both the realms of entertainment and technology have left an indelible mark on history.

Barbara McClintock: A cytogeneticist who discovered transposable genetic elements

Barbara McClintock, born on June 16, 1902, and passing away on September 2, 1992, distinguished herself as an eminent American scientist and cytogeneticist, earning the 1983 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her outstanding contributions to the field.

In 1927, McClintock achieved her Doctor of Philosophy in botany from Cornell University, marking the commencement of her illustrious career. Her primary focus became the pioneering development of maize cytogenetics, a commitment that remained unwavering throughout her lifetime.

Beginning in the late 1920s, McClintock delved into the comprehensive study of chromosomes and their dynamic alterations during reproduction in maize. Notably, she pioneered the visualization technique for maize chromosomes, employing microscopic analysis to substantiate several pivotal genetic concepts. Among these groundbreaking ideas was the revelation of genetic recombination through crossing-over during meiosis—a mechanism facilitating the exchange of information between chromosomes.

McClintock’s influential work extended to producing the inaugural genetic map for maize, establishing correlations between specific chromosome regions and observable physical traits. Her research also illuminated the critical roles played by telomeres and centromeres, key regions of chromosomes pivotal in preserving genetic information.

The transformative influence of women in shaping the future of traditionally male-dominated fields is underscored by several key aspects:

Key Aspects
Breaking BarriersWomen as trailblazers breaking down stereotypes and barriers in science and technology.
Inspiration and Role ModelsAccomplished women providing inspiration for future generations in STEM fields.
Innovation and CreativityDiverse perspectives contributing to innovation and creativity in science and technology.
Closing the Gender GapGlobal initiatives addressing the gender gap in STEM through mentorship and outreach.
Advocacy for InclusionWomen advocating for inclusion and equal opportunities in the workplace.
EntrepreneurshipWomen entrepreneurs leading successful startups in the tech industry.
Educational InitiativesComprehensive initiatives promoting STEM education and creating supportive environments.
Research and DiscoveriesWomen making significant contributions to scientific research and discoveries.


The enduring legacy of these trailblazing women stands as an ongoing source of inspiration, significantly influencing and molding the realms of science and technology. Their narratives stand as a testament to the profound potential and capabilities inherent in women, playing a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of these pivotal fields. These stories underscore the critical importance of sustained endeavors aimed at fostering diversity and inclusivity, recognizing that these principles are integral to the advancement and enhancement of society at large.