Women, Science, and Myth: Gender Beliefs from Antiquity to the Present

By Sue V. Rosser | Go to book overview

Disciplines
Chemistry

CECILIA H. MARZABADI


Background

Women have practiced chemistry since the beginnings of recorded time. However, the reports of women’s roles in chemistry are limited. In part, this is because prior to the end of the 19th century, women lacked access to formal education. It was not until the universities opened their doors to female students in the late 1800s that women began to be recognized for their achievements in chemistry.

The first woman to gain admittance to any school of science and technology in the United States was Ellen Swallow Richards in 1870 (WIST, APA Web site). As a condition for her admittance at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, there was an understanding “that her admittance did not establish a precedent for the general admission of females.” Three years later, she received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from MIT as well as a master of arts degree from the women’s college, Vassar. She continued to study at MIT and would have been awarded the school’s first doctoral degree, but the faculty rescinded her degree, unwilling to have a woman receive this distinction.

Certain fields of chemistry proved early to be more hospitable to women than did others. In particular, women tended to fare better in the fields of crystallography, radioactivity, and biochemistry (Rayner-Canham 1996, 2001). These three areas were seen as relatively uncharted, on the fringe of science, and with uncertain prospects for success. But importantly, some of the early men in these fields were receptive to mentoring female students.


Crystallography

Two early crystallographers were William H. Bragg (Royal Institution, London) and William L. Bragg (University of Manchester, England). In 1923, three of

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Women, Science, and Myth: Gender Beliefs from Antiquity to the Present
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Introduction vii
  • Chronological Section- Changes in Myths of Gender over Time 1
  • Antiquity 3
  • Medieval Era 17
  • Renaissance 31
  • The 18th Century 43
  • The 19th Century 61
  • Early 20th Century 79
  • Thematic Section- Concepts of Gender in Different Contexts 93
  • Disciplines - Chemistry 95
  • Physics/Astronomy 103
  • Mathematics 109
  • Computer Science 115
  • Biology 123
  • Psychology 129
  • Medicine 135
  • Technology 141
  • Aspects of Human Biology and Behavior - The Brain 149
  • Cognitive Abilities 155
  • Mental Illness 161
  • Personality/Rationality/Emotionality 167
  • Endocrinology and Hormones 173
  • Menstruation/Menopause/PMS 177
  • Early Modern Health 181
  • Gender/Sex—How Conjoined 187
  • Homosexuality 193
  • Race 201
  • Nature/Nurture 207
  • Institutions - Women’s Education 213
  • Motherhood 223
  • Religion 229
  • Universities 235
  • Federal Agencies 249
  • Industry 259
  • Professional Societies 263
  • Discrimination 273
  • Women Scientists as Leaders 283
  • Nobel Laureates 295
  • Gender and Occupational Interests 319
  • Other Perspectives on Gender and Myths and Beliefs in Scientific Research - Feminist Philosophy of Science 325
  • Biologists Who Study Gender/Feminism 337
  • Historians of Science and Technology Who Focus on Feminism 347
  • Primatologists Who Focus on Females/Gender 357
  • Critiques of Science 365
  • Marxism/Socialism and Feminism/Gender 373
  • Ecofeminism 381
  • Cyberfeminism 387
  • Race, Postcolonial Gender, and Science 393
  • Feminist Science Studies 399
  • Women’s Health Movement 405
  • Science Fiction 419
  • Conclusion 427
  • Appendix of- Statistical Tables 437
  • Glossary 445
  • Bibliography 469
  • Index 481
  • About the Editor 501
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