The work of these women was overlooked during their lifetimes with men receiving the recognition instead. While famous scientists like Marie Curie and Jane Goodall were eventually recognized for their contributions in their respective fields, a substantial number of female scientists throughout history have been overlooked simply due to their gender. Here are eight female scientists who never received credit for their discoveries in their lifetime.
In honor of Black History Month, I am beginning by posting about Alice Ball. I will follow that up by listing the other women in the article and posting their pictures. You can click on the link above for the full story of how they were cheated by the men they worked with. This is why our current mistrust of what is written has been exposed and why women are rewriting the truths and why I always say to “dig deeper” for what is hidden, the story beneath the stories. I bet you’ll find women there.
Alice Ball, Chemist
Born in 1892 in Seattle, Washington, Alice Ball broke many barriers before she died at the age of 24. She studied chemistry at the University of Hawaii, where she became the first woman and Black American to obtain both her Master’s degree as well as a professorship at the university’s chemistry department.
While there, Ball studied the properties of chaulmoogra oil, which was a promising treatment for leprosy at the time but difficult to use due to its chemical makeup. Ball developed an injectable form that isolated the active ingredients, rendering a more effective treatment, but she died from an unknown illness before she could publish her findings.
Another scientist took credit for her work, and it would take close to 90 years after Ball’s death that the University of Hawaii would officially acknowledge her scientific contributions and declare February 29 as “Alice Ball Day.“
Maria Merian, Entomologist & Scientific Illustrator
Nettie Maria Stevens, Geneticist
Henrietta Leavitt, Astronomist
Lise Meitner, Nuclear Physics
Rosalind Franklin, Chemist & Molecular Biologist
Esther Lederberg, Microbiologist
Mary Anning, Fossil hunter & Paleontologist
And lastly, Mary Anning, who I featured last year, as lots of new fossil hunting has revealed lots of new discoveries. But most importantly, history being righted and rewritten…And women taking their rightful places in history.
Remember their names and accomplishments. No longer forgotten in the pages of previously written history. When we know better, we can do better!