Actually, how log have people been active in science? The answer
is the same for both women and men ? as long as we have been human. The first
literature appeared some 4,000 years ago. Stone and bone records stretch back
further than those first alphabets, but give us no names. The very first technical
name was male - Imhotep - the architect of the first pyramid. The second technical
name was female - En Hedu'Anna (c.2354 BCE). She was the daughter of Sargon (of
Akkad) who established the Sargonian Dynasty in Babylon some 4000 or so years
ago. She was the wife of a priest. The priests and priestesses established a network
of observatories to monitor the movements of the stars. The calendar they created
is still used to date certain religious events like Easter and Passover. En Hedu'anna
is last in the long line of women who followed the stars and the cycles of the
Moon and whose names are lost to us. She is the first in a long line of women
whose names we know - the women who thought, created and built for the past 4000
Certainly women were questioners and thinkers long before that. Most myths and religions place the beginnings of agriculture, of laws, of civilization, of mathematics, of calendars, time keeping and medicine into the hands of women. They took care of the sick, made medicines from plants, invented early farming machines and machines to make clothes and pots. We know that in ancient Egypt were women active in astronomy, medicine and chemistry. There were women scientist in ancient Greece, too, but we know little about them.
History has also women, who were excellent scientists. Everybody has to know name Madame Marie Curie, who discovered the radioactive elements radium and polonium. We have to mention Kathleen Lonsdale, the brilliant research scientist (she had to take lessons at boy?s school because girls couldn?t do science at her school. She developed X-ray method to measure the distance between diamond atoms, and applied her work to medical problems.
Women were as clever as men, but there were several problems. A lot of women designed things, but didn?t have enough money to see their inventions become a reality, others had ideas, but were not allowed to go to university, so asked men to convert their ideas into reality. Some of women?s ideas have been ?borrowed? by men. The work of Rosalind Franklin is a good example. In 1951 she began analyzing the structure of DNA, the substance that carries the body?s genetic code. A year later, unknown to her, a copy of one of her papers and her best photograph of a form of DNA were shown to two men scientist, Watson and Crick. They were working in the same area. The photograph was extremely important. Rosalind began working on another project, and in 1958 she died. In 1962, Watson and Crick had got the Nobel Prize for their work on DNA, and today is believed to be the discoverers of its structure. But who first photographed the structure of DNA?
So, our history is full of men?s names, but we can?t if some invention, some theory or solution was discovered by male or female. Small step by step is our society running towards women. Women, who have everything much harder than men. It took a long time for women just to get the vote. The end of 20th century is about women, who is at the same level as man and people, who still make difference belong to the ancient times.