Inspiring Female Innovators

[{“id”:”cwu58l8lwb93xgz”,”elType”:”container”,”settings”:{“flex_direction”:”column”},”elements”:[{“id”:”5820cba”,”elType”:”container”,”settings”:[],”elements”:[{“id”:”_cwu58l8lwb93xy2″,”elType”:”widget”,”settings”:{“editor”:”This year’s International Women’s Day theme was #ChooseToChallenge, a call for us all to challenge gender bias and inequality, as well as to seek out and proactively celebrate women’s achievements. Running concurrently to this major event was British Science Week 2021, another important time of the year for the Powell Gilbert team and one that was closely aligned with International Women’s Day with its focus on “smashing stereotypes\”.

In keeping with these themes, we launched a mini-series on social media celebrating some of the female inventors and innovators that inspire the women here at Powell Gilbert and their families.

The full campaign can be found on our Twitter and LinkedIn pages, but as we look back on International Women’s Day, we wanted to revisit the achievements of our chosen pioneering women and why they continue to inspire to this day.

Dr Shirley Ann Jackson

Pioneering theoretical physicist, Dr Shirley Ann Jackson, was chosen by one of our Associates, Jessica Rosethorn.

Dr Jackson was a theoretical physicist and the first African American woman to receive a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During the 1970s, she led breakthrough telecommunications research with subatomic particles, which has enabled others since to invent the portable fax, touch tone telephone, solar cells, fibre optic cables, and the technology behind caller ID and call waiting.

Jessica chose Dr Jackson because she exemplified this year’s #ChooseToChallenge theme as a trailblazer who made significant scientific breakthroughs during her career.

Mary Anning

Spearheading palaeontologist and fossil collector Mary Anning was chosen by Senior Associate Tess Waldron.

Mary Anning is credited with the discovery of several dinosaur specimens in her hometown of Lyme Regis, Dorset, which assisted in the early development of palaeontology. In 1811, when she was just 12, Mary discovered the ‘ichthyosaur’. In 1824, she unearthed the UK’s first known remains of a pterosaur, believed to be the largest-ever flying animal. Her life is currently being celebrated with a new commemorative 50p coin collection.

Tess said: “I’m choosing Mary Anning, because she became a pioneer in her field against all the odds. Plus, everyone loves a dinosaur! I would also like to make a bonus nomination for schoolgirl Evie Swire and her ‘Mary Anning Rocks’ campaign, which has raised over £100,000 to create a permanent memorial for Mary Anning in her hometown of Lyme Regis.\”

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Tess’s daughter Anna, aged 2, in her dinosaur jumper, marvels at one of Mary Anning’s discoveries.

Rosalind Franklin

English chemist and X-ray crystallographer, Rosalind Franklin, was picked by Partner Bethan Hopewell.

Rosalind Franklin was a chemist and X-ray crystallographer best known for her crucial research into DNA, RNA, viruses, coal, and graphite. In 1953, her X-ray diffraction photos of DNA and subsequent data analysis helped build the correct theoretical model of DNA, for which Jim Watson and Francis Crick initially took full credit.

Bethan said, “I’m choosing Rosalind Franklin for her contribution to advancing the frontiers of science. A hard working, unspoken hero, responsible for a Nobel Prize winning scientific advance, she didn’t get to share the limelight at the time, but nevertheless made a hugely valuable contribution.\”

Marie Curie

Trailblazing physicist and chemist Marie Curie was chosen by our Marketing Manager, Jo Woods.

Jo explained, “I’m choosing Marie Curie for her discovery of radium and polonium and her huge contribution to finding treatments for cancer. She broke through several gender barriers during her lifetime, becoming the first woman to receive a Ph.D. from a French university, the first woman to be employed as a professor at the University of Paris, to win a Nobel Prize, and the first person ever to win the Nobel Prize twice for her achievements in two distinct scientific fields.\”

Marie Curie UK’s #GreatDaffodilAppeal runs throughout March, raising funds to support Marie Curie nurses and hospices.

Dorothy Vaughan

Former NASA computer programmer and mathematician, Dorothy Vaughan, was chosen by Partner Zoë Butler, in consultation with her daughters, Hannah and Lucy.

Zoë said, “I’d like to nominate Dorothy Vaughan, a brilliant mathematician who worked for NACA and its successor agency NASA. In 1949, Dorothy was appointed head of the West Area Computing unit, a segregated unit consisting of only African American women, making her the first African American supervisor at NACA and one of only a few female supervisors. Not only did Dorothy make a significant contribution to the space program, but she looked out for and inspired the women under her supervision, having the foresight to recognise that machine computers were the future and teaching them computer programming languages, thereby securing a future for them at the agency. In 2019, she was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and she now has a crater on the far side of the moon named in her honour!\””,”drop_cap”:”no”,”typography_typography”:”custom”,”typography_letter_spacing”:{“unit”:”px”,”size”:”0″},”typography_font_size”:{“unit”:”px”,”size”:”18″},”size”:”18″,”typography_font_weight”:”400″,”typography_line_height”:{“unit”:”px”,”size”:”28″},”title_color”:”#4b2771″,”text_color”:”#4b2771″,”color”:”#4b2771″,”align”:”start”},”widgetType”:”text-editor”}],”isInner”:false}],”isInner”:false}]