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Resources on Women in STEM (March 2020): Conclusion

by Janet Ochs, Jennifer Parker, and Jeremy Pekarek


This essay discusses resources published between 2008 and 2019 that can be considered a coherent body of literature highlighting women in STEM disciplines. These resources examine the global issue of gender inequality, emphasize the accomplishments of outstanding female role models, and illustrate how women have flourished in male-dominated fields. However, despite the inclusion of fifty-eight titles, these resources still fail to mention all the women who have contributed to STEM fields. As confirmed by the online resources described below, countless other women have contributed to the advancement of science while working in STEM professions.

For example, The Untold History of Women in Science and Technology is an online resource that provides audio recordings, showcasing women scientists such as American chemists Mary Engle Pennington and Ruth Rogan Benerito; food economist and statistician Mollie Orshansky; electrical engineer Edith Clarke; former director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center Dr. Ellen Ochoa; and computer scientist (and first female president of Harvey Mudd College) Maria Klawe. A notable feature of these recordings is that they are also performed by notable women such as Megan Smith, former chief technology officer of the United States; Catherine Woteki, former under secretary of agriculture for research, education, and economics; Ellen Stofan, now director of the National Air and Space Museum; Gina McCarthy, who currently directs the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard University; Jo Handelsman, former associate director for science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; and France Cordova, currently the fourteenth director of the National Science Foundation. Each tells the story of an important female trailblazer. These recordings call attention to some women not mentioned in the resources discussed above.

Three other websites that explore STEM role models are the Smithsonian Institution’s Women in Science website, the Nobel Prize organization’s list Women Who Changed the World, and the Agnes Scott College site Biographies of Women Mathematicians. Similar to the Untold History site mentioned above, these websites include background information about women in a wide range of STEM fields. The most impressive of these online resources is the Smithsonian’s Women in Science website, which alone includes brief biographies of nearly one hundred women in STEM fields.