Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Haley Reading Group: Emily Temple-Wood’s “It’s Time These Ancient Women Scientists Get Their Dues”

[The Best American Science and Nature Writing (2017)]

Emily Temple-Wood’s article “It’s Time These Ancient Women Scientists Get Their Dues” highlights the multiple women who have contributed to science. The article emphasizes the sexism women have faced in the scientific world, and how they have been silenced or overshadowed.

Temple-Wood’s article was especially enlightening as she works to name and point out the contribution of those women scientists. She provides the life of Hypatia as an example of a woman scientist who became the head of a Neo-Platonist school, a position previously held solely by men (311).

After reading this article, what’s a new view or approach to thinking about women and science that you developed? How in particular did the article shape your new view or approach on the subject?

36 comments:

Aliyah Johnson said...

After reading the article I realized that women once had to risk their lives for the sake of science. Knowing this, i will appreciate science a bit more because I am a woman and we did not always have the right to exercise our knowledge in science. To provide support for my viewpoint, the text says "In 4th century BCE she pretended to be a man to study with Herophilus, the firsts anatomist"(312, Temple-Wood).
-Aliyah Johnson

Asher said...

I really enjoyed this reading because it solidified by opinion about how women are often erased from scientific discoveries in history. Obviously, the most popular incident of this is Rosalind Franklin's work with DNA which was controversial when Crick and Watson were given credit for the work that she had found the foundations for. I think for us to stop this trend of women being erased from the scientific world, we must encourage more young girls to go into the science field. Often times, science is geared toward men and young boys and not girls. To see more of an inclusion in the scientific world can bridge the gap between genders so that happenings like in the readings aren't continued.

-Asher Denkyirah

Natasha said...

After reading this article, what’s a new view or approach to thinking about women and science that you developed? How in particular did the article shape your new view or approach on the subject?

I think this article in general is phenomenal because I've never really thought about why we only hear about male philosophers throughout our early history and not females. I think it's wonderful that Emily Temple-Wood brought to light that there were tons of women doing amazing things, even if some of their work was technically illegal.

One of the women who stuck out to me while reading this was Artemisia who played a major role in the law that deemed it okay for women to be physicians. She not only pretended to be a man to do so, but also put her life at risk. However, she contributed to making childbirth easier and safer for new mothers. I admire people like her for challenging the status quo and doing what they feel is right.

-Natasha H

Unknown said...

The article made me realize just how much women are overlooked in society. Nobody talks about these women or the extraordinary things they did that still have a strong lasting impact on us today. For instance, agnodike insisted on becoming a physician even though it was illegal at the time because she saw that women were not only being limited professionally, but they werent even receiving good healthcare during childbirth (313). Her story stuck out to me because it writes the story of women sticking up for themselves instead of waiting for men to come and save the day. The fact that her story is not talked about just shows that the impact that women have is continually suppressed and covered up.

-mackenzie cohoon

Mackenzie cohoon said...

The article made me realize just how much women are overlooked in society. Nobody talks about these women or the extraordinary things they did that still have a strong lasting impact on us today. For instance, agnodike insisted on becoming a physician even though it was illegal at the time because she saw that women were not only being limited professionally, but they werent even receiving good healthcare during childbirth (313). Her story stuck out to me because it writes the story of women sticking up for themselves instead of waiting for men to come and save the day. The fact that her story is not talked about just shows that the impact that women have is continually suppressed and covered up.

-mackenzie cohoon

DESMOND Armond CRUMER said...

Before this article I had never heard of many of the women in science mentioned. It amazes me to think that an interest in education would be illegal depending on your sex! Something that stuck out to me the most is "Theano, typically remembered as Pythagoras's wife...led the Pythagoreans after her husband died(313)." Now that's something that should be talked about! There are so many stories that are covered up due to the sex of the person. I think we should incorporate the famous men as well as their female counterparts as equals in textbooks.

Zuriah Harkins said...

Before reading the article, I had no idea that women played a part in science that long ago. I thought women just recently started playing a part within these last 100-200 years. Now that I do know though, it kind of motivates me to get involved in science even more, and to help encourage other women to get involved as well. As women, it's important for us to realize our potential of being just as good and important as men are in the scientific world. In addition to that, we have to make sure that the legacies of women involved in scientific advances don't disappear, and pay our respects to women when they're due.

-Zuriah Harkins

Ivyanne B said...

After I read this article I realized that women have had to overcome so many obstacles just to have any authority or to be even considered equal to men. "Apparently out of jealousy, the men of Athens decried her because they thoughts was seducing women" pg(313). This shows me that men have always had a problem with women being able to get something that they want whether or not its jobs, significant others etc. This also shows how everything has greatly improved on the view of women in power.
-Ivyanne B.

Devin Ellis-Martin said...

One of the most fascinating, core parts of the story I found was that of a female Herophilus, who risked her life to contribute to the world of medicine. I believe I find this the most interesting in part of the fact that I am a Biology major with the intention of going to Medical School. I have rarely heard of female philosophers or anatomical examiners, so it is great to read of this.

-Devin Ellis-Martin

Tomika Collins said...

Honestly, there was nothing surprising about this reading. Women have always been treated unfairly overlooked, discriminated against, and not taken seriously for hundreds of years. So this article was not saying anything new or unexpected. Women have been fighting for their equality and still are, hence the MeToo movement. The article did not really shape my views about the subject at all. The views I had prior to reading the article are the same ones I have after reading the article.

Brandy Collier said...

After reading the article I realized that we aren't really taught about the women in science from so long ago. I never knew about these women that played important roles in science like Tapputi, Merit Ptah, Artemisia, and Agnodike. Specifically in the article it talks about Tapputi's invention, " ... a perfumer named Tapputi invented the still, used for purifying substances like alcohol, and perhaps became the world's first chemist" (312). It's amazing that so many women were so innovative in science but it is also sad that a lot of these women have been overlooked.

-Brandy Collier

Kaelyn Blunt said...

Before reading this article, I knew that there were and still are so very many women in this world who are overlooked in favor of their male counterpart. I did not know, however, that such a long time ago, women were respected enough to hold positions of authority. Openly, I mean. When I read, "In the 13th-century BCE Babylon, intelligent women in the cradle of civilization were able to hold positions of authority" (312). Thinking it over, of course it made sense that there were more progressive civilizations out there that respected women in this way, but for some reason I had it in my mind that women were always and everywhere, treated lesser than. So this just showed me that there were openly powerful women in the world, and that they were respected for that. It's amazing to me.

Aleeya Barrolle said...

The article gave me a new view about women who studied science that were never celebrated for their efforts. Not until reading this article did I realize there were so many women scientist. For example, Agondike trial resulted in a new law "passed allowing women to be physicians" (313).

-Aleeya B.

Trevon Bosley said...

I truly enjoyed reading this article and learning about this topic. It is terrible the things women had to go through to make contributions to the sciences like how Agnodike had to ,"(pretend) to be a man to study with Herophilus."(312) There are so many contributions that women make to the sciences yet many of them are over looked and erased. I really felt informed from reading this article.

Mike Dade said...

It's not necessarily a new view, but this article just further supports the already known fact that women are underrepresented and mistreated in society. It wasn't until I read this article that I really thought about that in respect to the field of science too. It's a shame that women can do just as much as men, if not more, and still be overlooked due to gender. The gender roles that are in place are completely ridiculous, and this article does a good job exploiting that.

-Mike Dade

Shaina Falkner said...

After reading Emily Temple-wood's "It's Time These Ancient Women Scientists Get Their Due", I found interesting, as a female, how being a female can be a disadvantage in the science and medical world. "In 4th century BCE she pretended to be a man to study with Herophilus, the firsts anatomist"(312, Temple-Wood). This shows how women weren't taken seriously in the science field. She had to pretend to be a man in order to participate in a study because she was a women. The discrimination was proven to be very strong toward women.

Adejoke Adanri said...

I found it shocking that Artemisia of Caria II was a botanist and medical researcher who discovered the myriad uses of the genus between 353 and351 BCE (312). I always knew that women’s role in science has been ignored for a very long time but I didn’t realize how far back it extended. Women’s accomplishments deserve to be celebrated and learned about just as much as men’s.

Ronnie Akpan said...

It is no surprise that women have also contributed to the world of science and other major areas. It truly is sad that history/science classes fail to acknowledge these ladies who have made a mark on our society. The part of the passage that has really gotten to me is how far back this history is traced, were talking in the BCE time. To be honest, the only female scientists I've really heard about in school were Marie Curie (discovered Radium and Polonium) and Rosalind Franklin (discovered the double helix shape of DNA). I truly wish more schools in the nation/world would open up and teach their students about these frontierswomen so that they can all be more woke to the history around them.

Dayejah Coates said...

I enjoyed this article, and I also appreciate it because it shows ways that women are put on the back burner and how men take their credit. However, I would be lying if I said that it changed my view on anything because I already knew about how women are stripped of their credit, even when it is due.

James Beverly said...

I really did enjoy this article, I always enjoy reading about women in science. I do agree that many ancient history tends to erase females from the spotlight. I also feel like modern textbooks erase females that were crucial to our modern civilizations and it's a shame. It's about time that textbooks be rewritten to highlight the advancements that women paved for us.

Youssef Hassan said...

After reading this article i learned that women have been a key figure in science not only today, but back then as well. It was sad to know that these women were not fully acknowledged for the work that they did. I also find it sad to only know this after nineteen years by reading an article. This kind of information could be useful for women that are in middle school or high school as motivation to be interested in the field of science.

Marcus Barnes said...

Reading this article, brought a little light to women who were ignored for that attributes to science, but also those who were respected for it. Many times we only focus on how women are not looked at as equals, which many times is true and it is awful that it happens, but also forget mentioning those women in older times that were respected. From learning in history classes about all the negatives, I think we sometimes forget to mention that they are cases were civilizations were more progressive than others. "In the 13th-century BCE Babylon, intelligent women in the cradle of civilization were able to hold positions of authority" (312). In this passage from the article, it shows that in some places women were highly respected and were leaders. This reading really brings light to both sides of the spectrum, when it comes to how women are respected compared to men. Different women today and in history have done so many great things for the continued growth of the world and they should be highly respected as equals for their contributions and no one should stand in the way of that.

- Marcus B.

Cheniya Alston said...

After reading this article, I realize that I took my ability and position to become a scientist at university for granted. I knew that it was hard for women, but I had no idea they were risking their lives. That being said, I really enjoyed this article because while I was aware of women’s erasure in history, I did not to to what extent women had to hide. To enumerate, as early as the BC era women couldn’t publicly obtain knowledge of sciences, “In 4th century BCE she pretended to be a man to study with Herophilus, the firsts anatomist" (Temple-Wood 312). This may seem funny, but this made me think of Mulan and how in order to protect the ones she loved, she had to pretend to be a man. This article confirmed my opinion that women were, and in some cases still are, viewed as second-class citizens, maintaining a lower ranking than the male gender in many societies - although it is not always enforced by law.

Kamela Cross said...

This article didn't so much as give me a new view on women and science as it strengthen my knowledge about the subject. As a woman of science myself I hold a strong belief that women have always been behind a lot of the science we know today just never got any credit. I am proud to have so much knowledge now about what women before me have done to get me where I am now.

Alexis A. said...

As a biology major, I have noticed that the female professors tend to be some of the "harder" professors. I believe this is the case because they have something to prove. I have sat in classes where the female professor is challenged by a male student or a male student attempts to correct the professor. The male professors have students lines up to develop lab experience with them, but the female teachers often have to search for students to fill their labs. Females in science are just as capable of being great as male professors. On page 312, they talked about early female physicians being midwives. At my job in the hospital ER, female physicians are not taken as seriously by male patients as male physicians. These are just a few examples that I have noticed.

Jada Baker said...

This article really made me realize that we typically don't hear about women in science! I have never heard of any of the women that were talked about in this article, which really upsets me. These women have achieved amazing things and deserve to be recognized for that! One line that really stood out to me was on page 312, "Artemisia of Carla II, another woman of science, is mainly remembered for her husband..." It makes me angry that this intelligent women is only remembered for being someones wife.

-jada baker

Daeja Daniels said...

This article shines light on the fact that often times women are looked over. As an engineering major I understand how it feels to be overlooked in a male dominated field. In the article it says, "In the 13th-century BCE Babylon, intelligent women in the cradle of civilization were able to hold positions of authority" (312). This to me shows that in some ways we have advanced but in other ways we are still living in the past.

Anonymous said...

After reading, It’s Time These Ancient Women Scientists Get their Due, it makes sense that when you look back into history you only truly see men. So when I read "In 4th century BCE she pretended to be a man to study with Herophilus, the firsts anatomist"(312) I was not surprised at all. It sad that she hand to pretend she was something she was not. Tatyana C.

Erica King said...

After reading this article it only shows that women are just as and maybe even more intelligent than men depending on the situation and that women are equally capable to contribute to science and its findings just as men are. This article made me think how till this day we only really here about male contributors but without a woman's brain, none of them findings would of been discovered.

Carlie Bibbs said...

After reading this article, I am much more thankful to the women in history who have created a path for young women like me to follow. I think that these women are very brave and bold to have risked their lives and freedom to contribute such great findings to various fields of study. I am glad that this article enlightened readers on some figures who may not be well known. They deserve every bit of recognition as their male counterparts have received. I really enjoyed this article and it’s made me think of more women in history who have been overshadowed by males (I.e. Mathematicians at NASA: Katherine Jonson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson). I think it’s important that we change the way we think about women and start giving them the credit they deserve more often.

Joshua Jones said...

This article made me feel more strongly about women. It was a great way to understand how women should not be put down in terms of men and have accomplished incredible feats, despite ill-conceived notions. For example, on page 312, there is a section that speaks on women in medicine and chemistry, where I learned that Artemisia of Caria II was mainly "remembered for her husband," but she discovered an herb that helps with pelvic and uterine blood flow. I think that being known for her husband overshadows the true important points about her life. These types of instances need to be accounted for and the essay explained that people like the author are attempting to bring hidden facts to light.

Joshua J.

Jada James said...

I've always admired women throughout history because they often don't receive the credit that I know they are due. Reading this article really reinforced that concept, and even though I was aware of some women in history who are undercredited in their fields, this article exposed me to Hypatia, who I had never heard of before. I think it just goes to show that women have been so often ignored and shunned for the same qualities and ideas that men are praised and credited for

Alishiana Ivy said...


After reading this article I realized that woman did not have the easiest lives. They had to strive off the few rights that they barley had. These women were willing to risk everything in the name of science which is truly inspiring. I am glad that woman finally gets some recognition because i know that it is hard for woman to get the same recognition as their male counterparts. On page 313 it said that “out of jealousy, the man decried her” , this is very relatable because people will always want to see you fall when you are doing better then them. Also i know it was appalling to see a woman beat out men during that time period.

Stella N said...

After reading the article, my new view on women and the science that I developed is that there are more of them, even in the past. I have believed that certain minorities, including African Americans and women, are often erased from history books, this article solidified my opinion which is devastating. In different countries, their history classes don't teach them as much US history because they need to learn about themselves like we do. I believe the same needs to happen for minorities, everyone needs to know where or who they come from.

Tela Medearis said...

I have always been in awe of women in science. They overcame so many barriers men have set in order to succeed in a predominatey male dominated field. What struck me was that there are so many memorable women that were overshadowed by a male counterpart. The author wrote, “ Another woman undeservedly overshadowed by her famous male paramour was Theano, typically remembered as Pythagora’s wife. She was an accomplished astronomer and mathmatician...” (Wood 313). It makes me wonder how many things were doscovered by women but men took the credit for it. I have heard of and read of several instances such as that.

-Kytela Hill (Medearis)

Anonymous said...

“Women do amazing things that change the world everyday, and it’s always influential when people recognize the work that is done by these women. In Temple-Wood’s writing, she discusses an Egyption woman named Merit Ptah who is now known as the first recorded woman physician, and possibly the first known woman scientist (312.). Ptah became the first known female scholar by discussing topics of gynecology and herbal remedies.

This portion of the article especially shapes my way of thinking because I am a young woman pursuing a career in women’s health. Based on Metrodora’s story, I can be confident in the fact that women can do anything.” Kendall C.