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Most Recent Female Nobel Prize Winners

Since 1901, Nobel Prizes have been awarded to men and women from ages 17 to 90. Although 2016 didn’t see any new female winners, there have been many notable women Nobel Laureates over the past century in categories like chemistry, literature and economic sciences. Here are the most recent female victors in the following categories:


The Nobel Prize in Physics:

1963: The last time a woman won the Nobel Prize in physics was in 1963, when Maria Goeppert Mayer shared her prize for discoveries about nuclear shell structure with Eugene Wigner and Hans Jensen. Of the 203 people who have won the Nobel Prize in physics, only two of them were women.


The Nobel Prize in Chemistry:

2009: In this year, Ada Yonath shared the Nobel Prize in chemistry with Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas A. Steitz for studying the structure and function of the ribosome. Of the 174 people who have won the Nobel Prize in chemistry, four of them were women.


The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine:

2015: Last year, Youyou Tu won the Nobel Prize for discovering a new Malaria therapy. Of the 211 people who have won the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, 12 were women.


The Nobel Prize in Literature:

2015: Last year, Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize in literature for her writings concerning suffering during oppressive political regimes in the Soviet Union. Of the 113 people who have won the Nobel Prize in literature, 14 of them were women.


The Nobel Peace Prize:

2014: Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for fighting for the right of children to be educated. Out of 104 individuals who won the Nobel Peace Prize, 14 of them were women.


The Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science:

2009: The last and only time a woman won the Nobel Prize in Economics was in 2009 when Elinor Ostrom won for her “analysis of economic governance.”


Although women are now being recognized for their academic and creative accomplishments, it’s important to remember that it hasn’t always been this way. In just a few decades, new avenues have opened for women in the realm of education and service, making it possible for them to achieve great things. But let’s not get complacent! Between 1901 and 2016, the Nobel Prize has only been awarded to 48 women out of 881 total individual award winners. Ladies, let’s keep learning, innovating and inspiring as the years go by. The possibilities are endless as to what we can do. We congratulate all past Nobel Prize winners and the Nobel Laureates of 2016!

Renee is a transfer student, and first year Junior at Drexel University. She is majoring in Anthropology and minoring in Sociology. She started writing for Her Campus Drexel in the fall of 2015, and is now working as the President and Co-Campus correspondent for the Her Campus at Drexel University chapter. You can find her eating, studying, eating, shopping downtown, or eating more.
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