One of the most important parts of growing up is realizing that history books don't always tell the full story. The narrative is controlled by the powerful, and in Western culture, that usually means wealthy, white men. As a result, women in STEM have been left out of history all too often, despite contributing just as much as to their fields as their male peers. Some men even used their work to make their own discoveries — Waston and Crick, anyone? — but when the time came to honor scientific breakthroughs or technological innovations, these women were shut out and ignored.
It's easy to dismiss sexism as a thing of the past, but in reality, the STEM fields still have a problem with women. The gender gap starts early; according to a survey commissioned by Microsoft this year, interest is fairly consistent across genders until girls reach 15 years old. At that point, interest drops of sharply and never recovers. According to the U.S. Department of Commerce, even women who earn degrees in STEM fields are less likely than men to work in a field related to their degree. Instead, they tend to work in healthcare or education.
Unfortunately, the gender gap in STEM has roots reaching back centuries. Here are nine women scientists and innovators whom history forgot.