Nobel Prize winners are being announced this week. While no women have been awarded the prestigious prize so far this year we want to look back at the women who have changed the world.

The Nobel Prize and Prize in Economic Sciences have been awarded to women 49 times between 1901 and 2016. Only one woman, Marie Curie, has been honored twice, with the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics and the 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. 

Women are increasingly being recognized for their world-changing achievements, but when we compare the number of winners (women have won it 49 times, men 825 times, and organizations 26 times) it shows that there is still more work to be done to close the gender gap. Comparing just women to men, the former has received the honor 5.6% of the time.

 Not all categories of the Prize are created equal, however. Of the six categories, the Nobel Prize for literature has had the most female representation (12.5%), with the Nobel Peace Prize following closely behind (12.4%). Physics has had the least female recipients (around 1%).

So let's take a look at the Nobel Prize awarded to women from 1901-2016 by category and chronological order. 

 

PHYSICS

The Nobel Prize in Physics 1963

Maria Goeppert Mayer

"for their discoveries concerning nuclear shell structure"

 

The Nobel Prize in Physics 1903

Marie Curie, née Sklodowska

"in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel"

 

CHEMISTRY

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2009

Ada E. Yonath

"for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome"

 

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1964

Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin

"for her determinations by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances"

 

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1935

Irène Joliot-Curie

"in recognition of their synthesis of new radioactive elements"

 

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1911

Marie Curie, née Sklodowska

"in recognition of her services to the advancement of chemistry by the discovery of the elements radium and polonium, by the isolation of radium and the study of the nature and compounds of this remarkable element"

 

MEDICINE

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2015

Youyou Tu

"for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria"

 

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2014

May-Britt Moser

"for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain"

 

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2009

Elizabeth H. Blackburn

"for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase"

 

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2009

Carol W. Greider

"for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase"

 

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2008

Françoise Barré-Sinoussi

"for their discovery of human immunodeficiency virus"

 

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2004

Linda B. Buck

"for their discoveries of odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system"

 

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1995

Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard

"for their discoveries concerning the genetic control of early embryonic development"

 

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1988

Gertrude B. Elion

"for their discoveries of important principles for drug treatment"

 

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1986

Rita Levi-Montalcini

"for their discoveries of growth factors"

 

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1983

Barbara McClintock

"for her discovery of mobile genetic elements"

 

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1977

Rosalyn Yalow

"for the development of radioimmunoassays of peptide hormones"

 

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1947

Gerty Theresa Cori, née Radnitz

"for their discovery of the course of the catalytic conversion of glycogen"

 

LITERATURE

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2015

Svetlana Alexievich

"for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time"

 

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2013

Alice Munro

"master of the contemporary short story"

 

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2009

Herta Müller

"who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed"

 

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2007

Doris Lessing

"that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny"

 

The Nobel Prize in Literature 2004

Elfriede Jelinek

"for her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society's clichés and their subjugating power"

 

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1996

Wislawa Szymborska

"for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality"

 

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1993

Toni Morrison

"who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality"

 

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1991

Nadine Gordimer

"who through her magnificent epic writing has - in the words of Alfred Nobel - been of very great benefit to humanity"

 

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1966

Nelly Sachs

"for her outstanding lyrical and dramatic writing, which interprets Israel's destiny with touching strength"

 

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1945

Gabriela Mistral

"for her lyric poetry which, inspired by powerful emotions, has made her name a symbol of the idealistic aspirations of the entire Latin American world"

 

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1938

Pearl Buck

"for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces"

 

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1928

Sigrid Undset

"principally for her powerful descriptions of Northern life during the Middle Ages"

 

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1926

Grazia Deledda

"for her idealistically inspired writings which with plastic clarity picture the life on her native island and with depth and sympathy deal with human problems in general"

 

The Nobel Prize in Literature 1909

Selma Ottilia Lovisa Lagerlöf

"in appreciation of the lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception that characterize her writings"

 

PEACE

The Nobel Peace Prize 2014

Malala Yousafzai

"for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education"

 

The Nobel Peace Prize 2011

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

"for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work"

 

The Nobel Peace Prize 2011

Leymah Gbowee

"for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work"

 

The Nobel Peace Prize 2011

Tawakkol Karman

"for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work"

 

The Nobel Peace Prize 2004

Wangari Muta Maathai

"for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace"

 

The Nobel Peace Prize 2003

Shirin Ebadi

"for her efforts for democracy and human rights. She has focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children"

 

The Nobel Peace Prize 1997

Jody Williams

"for their work for the banning and clearing of anti-personnel mines"

 

The Nobel Peace Prize 1992

Rigoberta Menchú Tum

"in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples"

 

The Nobel Peace Prize 1991

Aung San Suu Kyi

"for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights"

 

The Nobel Peace Prize 1982

Alva Myrdal

 

The Nobel Peace Prize 1979

Mother Teresa

 

The Nobel Peace Prize 1976

Betty Williams

 

The Nobel Peace Prize 1976

Mairead Corrigan

 

The Nobel Peace Prize 1946

Emily Greene Balch

 

The Nobel Peace Prize 1931

Jane Addams

 

The Nobel Peace Prize 1905

Baroness Bertha Sophie Felicita von Suttner, née Countess Kinsky von Chinic und Tettau


SVERIGES RIKSBANK PRIZE IN ECONOMIC SCIENCES

The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2009

Elinor Ostrom

"for her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons"

 

The number of female Nobel Laureates is gradually increasing. Here’s hoping this progress continues—and speeds up.


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