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Five Facts to Know about Women in STEM

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Facts and figures on females from throughout the world.

By Chelsea Pribble, Illustrations by Jessica Wetterer

34 Years 

In the early 1900s, the director of the Harvard Observatory, Edward Charles Pickering, discovered the brilliance of women after replacing his lackluster male research assistant with his own maid, Williamina Fleming. Proving to be invaluable, Fleming worked at Harvard for 34 years. And thanks to her, Pickering became inspired to hire more than 80 women to compute and catalogue data during his tenure.

460,000 Students

The future of science and technology looks bright, especially for girls. With more than 460,000 students engaging with its tech-based programs, the nonprofit For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology, or FIRST, is continuing to encourage girls to become the science and technology trailblazers of tomorrow.

1944

When it came time to choose the winner of the 1944 Nobel Prize, the Nobel committee shunned Austrian Lise Meitner—simply because she was a woman—even though she contributed as much as her male lab partner to the discovery of nuclear fission. Though he walked away with the recognition, Meitner remained dedicated to her atomic research well into her 80s.

$30,000

Between 2015 and 2016, women comprised more than half of all college students in the United States. But according to a study by ORC International, a market- and customer-research company, 42 percent of women have more than $30,000 in college debt, while only 27 percent of men owe that much.

50 Percent

Who are the fairest bookworms of them all? Based on a 2015 survey conducted by the National Endowment for the Arts, women are more likely—at 50 percent— than men to regularly read literature.

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