Maria Mitchell was America’s first professional female astronomer. On October 1, 1847, at the age of 29, Maria Mitchell discovered a comet, becoming the first American to do so.
Ellen Swallow Richards was the first woman admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in 1873. She completed the requirements for a Master's degree but the Institute refused to grant it to her.
Pioneering electrical engineer Edith Clarke earned a great many “firsts” in the field of STEM including becoming the first professionally employed female electrical engineer in the U.S.
Admiral Grace Murray Hopper invented the first computer compiler, a program that translates written instructions into codes that computers read directly. This led her to co-develop COBOL, an early standardized computer language.
Dr. Sally Ride was among the first women to benefit from Title IX in educational opportunities. She was one of only 5 women selected for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) class of '78.
Almost 21 million students attended American colleges and universities in fall 2014. Women made up the majority of students, with about 12 million females matriculating, compared to 9 million males. Though women comprise almost 60% of undergraduates, they tend not to major in science and technical fields. They earn only 18% of the Engineering degrees, 20% of Computer Science degrees, and 20% of Physics degrees. Interestingly, their representation in these majors has declined over the past 30 years.
GoldieBlox, an award-winning toy company founded by engineer and entrepreneur Debbie Sterling, is revolutionizing playtime for girls by introducing them to engineering at a young age.
Elizabeth L. Maurer - Director of Program
Sydnee Winston - Project Coordinator
National Women's History Museum
205 S. Whiting St., Suite 254
Alexandria, VA 22304