In the history of one of the most prestigious awards, 53 women have won the Nobel prize. The rarity of female Nobel laureates is surprising and astonishing. This raises questions regarding the stereotypes, cultural context, policies, and many others.
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In an effort to raise more awareness, here you can read about four impressive women who have made their mark in history by winning the Nobel Prize.
In 1903, Marie Curie became the first woman ever to win the Nobel. She shared the award with Pierre Curie, her husband.
Later, she went on to win the Nobel prize for Chemistry in 1911 for her research in radioactivity. She was not only the pioneer among women, but she is also the only one to win the prize in two separate sciences.
Born in Warsaw in 1867, Curie moved to Paris to pursue her higher education at the Sorbonne. There she got acquainted with Pierre Curie, who was working as the Professor of Physics and married him in 1895. She was also the first female to be designated as the Professor of General Physics.
Marie Curie, despite her numerous awards and incredible intelligence, was still passed over for many positions.
In 1914, she set up the Curie Laboratory in the University of Paris. Her legacy was carried forward by her daughter, Irene, who received the Nobel for Chemistry in 1935 and Eve, who wrote the biography of her mother.
photo source: Wikimedia.
Toni Morrison, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993, was also the first African American woman ever to receive a Nobel.
Her powerful writing had an impact on whole generations. She depicted the identity and experience of African Americans in the US. Toni Morrison authored 11 novels, most shining light onto the crushing experiences of black women.
She had also published children’s books as well as essay collections. Her book “Beloved” won the Pulitzer Prize in 1988.
Her concern for the world and the dark side of humanity is explicit in the intrinsically layered characters and their portrayal in her works. Morrison effortlessly coalesces the past and present, adding unflinching details about slavery and its legacy.
photo source: static flickr
Elinor Ostrom was the first of the only two women to be bestowed The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. It was ten years later in 2019 that Esther Duflo would win in the Economic Sciences. Ostrom received it for her analysis of the commons and their economic governance.
She suggested through her work that communities have the ability to self-organize in ways that punish the ones who take a free ride on the common resource. She continued to challenge conventional thinking by underlining examples of local properties managed by communal ownership without any regulation by central authorities.
She was born in Los Angeles and received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of California in 1965. Obviously, it was considered a challenge for women at the time. photo source: Wikimedia
Malala Yousafzai became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Prize in Peace when she got the award in 2014 at age 17. She was a campaigner for girls’ education in Pakistan since she was a child.
This involvement led to a series of events resulting in a death threat against her issued by the Taliban. Soon followed an assassination attempt, which she survived. Global attention to her cause has been brought then.
In the UK, she received medical attention and is currently living there. She is an active voice of girls’ right to education and fights against their oppression. Malala Yousafzai also addressed the United Nations in 2013.
She served as the youngest UN Messenger for peace in 2017. She has since become the global campaigner for education and released several books, including a biography “I am Malala.” She is currently pursuing her degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at the University of Oxford.
photo source: One.org
All the 53 women who were honored with the award, each and every single one of them continue to inspire the rest of the world.
As scarce as the gender representation in this regard is, women everywhere are marching ahead in all areas of life. The system still has a gap, and there is a need to recognize women for their accomplishments.
Featured Image by DEBORAH FEINGOLD/CORBIS VIA GETTY IMAGES.