Research shows that women remain underrepresented in engineering, computer science and physical science. From the earliest times, women in science spans in the history of science with immense contributions. The involvement of women in this field occurred in several early civilizations, and the study of natural philosophy opened ways for women that contributed to the proto-science of alchemy in the first or second centuries. During the Middle Ages, religious convents were places to educate for women, and some of these communities provided opportunities for women to contribute to scholarly research. The 11th century saw the emergence of the first universities were women for the most part excluded from university education. The attitude toward educating women in medical fields appears to have been more liberal in Europe with the first known woman to earn a university chair in a scientific field of studies was eighteenth-century Italian scientist Laura Bassi as recorded in the history books. Recognised and depicted as “Minerva” (goddess of wisdom), she was the second woman in the world to earn the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (after the philosopher Elena Cornaro Piscopia, who had received doctorate in 1678) and the first woman to have doctorate in science. Yes! History is important to us as it sets basis of knowing where everything in life had started. History helps to examine, question and analyse past events. It is also revelation for the things happening now. The experience will always bring out a hint on how to handle and accept the things happening. History is a powerful tool pointing on us to accept responsibility for the choices we make today. Be it political, nationally, economically as said.
There is an endless number of scholarly articles and research which argues the development of science, including both the natural and social sciences with the emphasize on observation, explanation, and prediction of real-world phenomena. Without these arguments and research, it would make it difficult to acknowledge and celebrate these findings and giants that contributed to change and innovative inventions. Women have made many truly significant and often dramatic contributions to science. Spoiled with the endless list of women that contributed to the sciences, here is our top five list of our choice drawn from equally eminent women scientists and randomly selected from early days and female scientists in Africa.
South African Female Scientists
Tebello Nyokong is a South African chemist and professor at Rhodes University, and a recipient of the Presidency of South Africa’s Order of Mapungubwe in Bronze
Marina Joubert is a senior science communication researcher at The Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology at Stellenbosch University. Previously, she was the communication manager for the National Research Foundation and managed her own independent science communication consultancy for a decade
Anusuya Chinsamy-Turan is a South African vertebrate paleontologist known for her expertise and developments in the study of the microstructure of fossil teeth and bones of extinct and extant vertebrates. She was the head of the Department of Biological Sciences, at the University of Cape Town from 2012 to 2015
Himla Soodyall is a South African geneticist involved in finding some of the oldest human genetic lines, mainly focusing on Sub-Saharan Africa. Her work on DNA has pointed to southern Africa as the most likely geographic region of origin of the human species
Jill Farrant, professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, is a leading expert on resurrection plants, which ‘come back to life’ from a desiccated, seemingly dead state when they are rehydrated.“In fact, according to United Nations data, less than 30% of scientific researchers worldwide are women. … And according to the Pew Research Center, women remain underrepresented in engineering, computer science and physical science.” CNN, Jan 28, 2020