10 women scientists: Invisibles in the STEM fields

Female engineers often had to learn that they would not fill important engineering jobs. But they overcame this obstacle as an obvious reason not to study an engineering field. One of the biggest obstacles for female engineers was being openly discriminated against for having higher than average family responsibilities.

One powerful example came from an article published by The Atlantic in October 2016. “Ten Women Scientists, Two Becomes an Engineer,” features the stories of some of the strongest female scientists today, including physicists and doctors who had faced aggressive discrimination in their careers.

One of those women, Madeleine Curry, a nuclear scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, experienced two incredibly difficult periods in her career. Her first period, a few years after the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) discouraged her from going to medical school, left her nervous, apprehensive and worried about the level of work she would have to do in order to catch up. Another “period of introspection” came during her follow-up in the 1970s to her second Bachelor’s degree:

“I had stayed away from male-dominated STEM professions. I thought if I took the SATs, people might think I wasn’t committed enough to pursue my plans.”

Unlike Curry, others were willing to change their trajectory.

“I felt I could handle the pressure,” a Harvard education professor and a professor of mechanical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology told The Atlantic.

“I think this might just be the status quo. Most women don’t want to take that risk.

Curry once again took her place among the successful women in STEM. “My research and work is going well,” she told The Atlantic, “and I’m taking on more and more interesting projects and assignments.”

You can see The Atlantic’s story here.

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