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Women Buried In The Footnotes Of Scientific Discovery

Betsy Kaplan

Women scientists and inventors have been making ground-breaking discoveries since Agnodike pretended to be a man in order to become the first female anatomist in ancient Greece. Yet, women's scientific contributions have historically been hidden in the footnotes of the work men claimed as their own. 

It's 2019. Things are better, right? 

Not really. Men still hold the majority of patents, and systemic biases still lead to lower pay, less authorship for scientific papers, and overt and subtle forms of harassment. Women scientists of colorand those in the LGBTQ community feel it the most.

Yet, women scientists are banding together to call out bias and give credit where it's due -- one Wikipedia page at a time. 

Today, we talk to four of them.


  • Ainissa Ramirez- Scientist and science communicator. She gave a TED talk on the importance of STEM education and was a mechanical engineering professor at Yale for ten years. Currently, she's writing a book called The Alchemy of Us. (@ainissaramirez)
  • Kathryn Clancy- Associate professor of Anthropology at the University of Illinois. She hosts the Period Podcast (@KateClancy / @Periodpodcast2)
  • Emily Temple-Wood - Medical student at Midwestern University Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine. Founder of WikiProject Women Scientists. (@emilytemplewood)
  • Jessica Wade - Postdoctoral researcher in physics at Imperial College London’s Blackett Laboratory. (@jesswade)

Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter

Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to the show.

Betsy started as an intern at WNPR in 2011 after earning a Master's Degree in American and Museum Studies from Trinity College. She served as the Senior Producer for 'The Colin McEnroe Show' for several years before stepping down in 2021 and returning to her previous career as a registered nurse. She still produces shows with Colin and the team when her schedule allows.

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