The history of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields is a complex and multifaceted one, marked by both progress and setbacks. Despite facing significant barriers and discrimination, women have made significant contributions to STEM fields throughout history.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, women were largely excluded from formal education in STEM fields and faced discrimination in the workforce. Despite this, many women still found ways to pursue their passions and make important contributions to their fields. For example, in the late 1800s, a group of women known as the “Harvard Computers” were hired to calculate astronomical data and made important discoveries in the field of astronomy.
During World War II, women were recruited to fill jobs in STEM fields that had been left vacant by men who were serving in the military. This led to a temporary increase in the number of women working in STEM fields, but many of these women were laid off or forced to leave their jobs after the war ended.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the feminist movement brought attention to the underrepresentation of women in STEM fields and advocated for greater opportunities for women in these fields. This led to some progress in increasing the number of women in STEM fields, but discrimination and bias remained major barriers for women in these fields.
In recent years, there has been a renewed effort to increase the representation of women in STEM fields. This has included initiatives to encourage girls to study STEM subjects in school, as well as programs to support women who are already working in STEM fields. Despite this progress, women are still underrepresented in many STEM fields, particularly in leadership roles.
While the history of women in STEM fields is marked by both progress and setbacks, it is clear that women have made significant contributions to these fields throughout history. Today, women continue to break barriers and make important contributions to STEM fields, and it is important to continue working towards creating a more equitable and inclusive environment for women in STEM.