Wednesday, October 24, 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?

31 comments:

Kalonji Rumph said...

In Emily Temple-Woods "It's Time Ancient Women Scientists Get Their Dues", one of the scientists Emily highlighted was Metrodora who was from ancient Greece and was the first woman medical scholar. Among the many topics that Metrodora covered gynecology was amongst them (313). This subject really wouldn't be addressed in detail and in the open for nearly 2 millennia later. It's safe to say that Metrodora was very much ahead of her time. The field of science has long been dominated by men, but this reminded me that innovation and knowledge can come from any group of people. It's up to society to allow people to flourish and encourage them to realize their potential.

Crystal Rice said...

After reading the article, I feel that women do a lot more than people know. All of the women that Emily Temple-Wood's mentioned in the article, she gave more background information and something that they went through, while ending it on a positive note with an accomplishment. For example, she said, "...Akkadian astronomer-priestess En Hedu-Anna perhaps became the world's first...Mercury was named after her,"(313). It just goes to show that women are not recognized enough for the big things they've done especially in science. This made me realize how even more powerful us women are.

Crystal R.

JaLeah M . said...

The opening of the text which read, “But because their contributions often go unacknowledged they fade into obscurity and the threads of their influence today aren’t apparent as they ought to be” (311). This point immediately brought the movie “Hidden Figures” to my mind. In this movie the concept was the same as in the text. An extremely intelligent woman had a major role in sending man to the moon & back successfully. Prior to this movie a lot of people knew nothing about the role Katherine Johnson played. Similarly, in this text these women in science have not gotten recognition they deserve. Intelligence, innovation etc. can come from anyone regardless of gender and I think it’s important that women continue to pursue science.

Sydney Oats said...

Unfortunately, all fields are predominantly dominated by men. Women getting the recognition that they deserve has been long overdue. The article is nice to go on and acknowledge the smart women behind many discoveries that are not talked about today, and even not getting credit for. “...because their contributions often go unacknowledged they fade into obscurity and the threads of their influence today aren’t apparent as they ought to be” (311).

- Sydney Oats

T-Bird For real said...

What baffles me wa as that there was so many women that you didn't hear about in the science fields. Also how a lot of the women in the medicine and chemistry section were during or before the 5th century. Rhe part that I liked the most was on page 312 when they talked about the woman who had to act like a man in order to study at school so that women wouldn't die from childbirth. It is crazy all the lengths these women had to go through just to learn science.

-Tara Thompson

Jayla Pierce said...

“Women are woven deeply into history of science, stretching back to ancient Egypt over 4,000 years ago. But because their contributions often go unacknowledged, they fade into obscurity -and the threads of their influence today aren’t as apparent as they ought to be.” (311). Just this opening couple of sentences sets you into motion of the realization that women contribution have gone unrecognized for centuries even through they make a huge impact to the different industries of the world. This was a nice article made to recognize the different achievements that women have made, that most people have not realized or even not want to recognize and give credit to.

Nia Piggott said...

Science, like many other fields has been occupied by men, this often results in the works of women being unacknowledged. I would say that I knew very little about the contributions women have made to science. This article introduced me to a few of these women and encouraged me to go and research to learn more about these historical contributions. I found the story of Merit Ptah to extremely interesting. On Page it 312 it states " the first recorded woman physician, who was possibly the woman scientist, an Egyptian living in the 28th century BCE." I plan to research more about these contributions not only in science but in others fields as well.

J'kolbe Kelly said...

Emily Temple-Woods's article "It's time these ancient women scientist get their dues" was a very eye opening read for me. It had kinda of never crossed my mind that you dont hear about many woman scientist in history. I hope they continue to push praise for these pioneers o science

Jeremiah Terrell said...


Reading "It's Time Those Ancient Women Scientists Get Their Dues" caused me to take a minute to think about the history of women and science. It had never occurred to me that women of ancient times aren't acknowledged for their contributions to science. The article made me realize that women really don't get enough credit for some of the extraordinary things they have done over time.

Sierra Taylor said...

The first paragraph of the reading summarizes the gist of the whole reading. Knowing that there is still gender inequality, I was not surprised when I read it. "Women are women deeply into the history of science, stretching back to ancient Egypt, over 4,000 years ago. But because their contributions often go unacknowledged, they face into obscurity - and the threads of their influence today aren't as apparent as they ought to be." Often times, women were erased from history because they were not taken seriously. I wish I had learned more about the contributions of women in my history classes when I was growing up. I strongly agree with the author in that the world would be different if these women were heard and recognized for their intellect.

Alliyah M. said...

After reading Emily Temple-Wood's article, I realized that women have been influential to the development of certain fields for a much longer time than I previously thought. On page 312, Wood stated, "Artemisia of Caria II, another woman of science, is mainly remembered for her husband, Mausolus (a recurring theme)." I found it disheartening that many of these women contribution to science was foreshadowed by their husbands' social status.

The article also showed how many women risked many consequences in order for their scientific discoveries to help people. Sometimes if their scientific studies were discovered by the public, they faced the possibilities of being publicly shamed, targeted, or even put on trial. This just shows how women in ancient times were willing to risk in order for science to thrive and help others.

Brandon Nichols said...

The Greek philosopher Aspasia of Miletus stuck out the most since her teachings have been rumored to influence Socrates, and she advocated for Greek women. Based on this story, Greek society was welcoming to the idea of educating women. Women throughout history has been shown as the support system of famous men. We should be looking at these women as leaders rather than sideline characters. These women aided these men because they were their own smart person. They educated themselves, and worked twice as hard as men to have the knowledge to make a difference. Acknowledging that is the least we can do.

-Brandon Nichols

Kyla T. said...

I had already known that women have contributed to many fields such as science, art, and math before men ultimately took over said fields and made them masculine and/or tougher for women to excel in, so no new ideas or approaches occurred in my mind as I was reading this article. If anything, I found the article interesting due to how far back the author went in mentioning her scientists, such as ancient Greek and ancient Egypt. "But because their contributions often go unacknowledged, they fade into obscurity - and the threads of their influence today aren’t as apparent as they ought to be (311)." Women have always been overshadowed by men within their work and have had their work stolen by men numerous times. If we are to become a just society, we must look back and praise the work women have done by rewriting history and erase their thieves.

-Kyla T.

Raillane Kamdem said...

This article did nothing but further prove to me the number of achievements equaling, and even surpasing, women have had compared to men and the dim amount of recognition they’ve had compared to the opposite sex. For example, Merit Ptah, the first woman scientist and phsycisian, accomplished many incredible things during her lifetime, yet she is most remembered for her husband (312). This is a common pattern that repeats throughout the years with these women, and something I did not think was so prevalent before this passage.

Maya Searcy said...

on Page it 312 it says " the first recorded woman physician, who was possibly the woman scientist, an Egyptian living in the 28th century BCE." The science field is predominately men and typically even when women are very successful in the field we still do not hear about there accomplishments. I had no idea that women could be scientist at that time and its odd that not many people have heard of that. It shows that women have been in the science field for a very long time and still do not get the recognition they deserve.

Jasmin Smoot said...

Articles similar to these constantly reminds us that women have always fought to be viewed equally knowledgeable to men. Even after doing so, most hold these beliefs today that women are not capable of higher thinking or high stress volume fields, but this is not the case. It is so easy to cloud or "forget" the contribution women have had in the world. Documenting things like the efforts of Agnodike, who basically put her life on the line to help women avoid fatal practices, which led to the passing of a law that allowed women to be physicians in Athens, is necessary to show how far we've come and how much further we can go even when society thinks otherwise.

Chidera Onyeizeh said...

Honestly reading this I wasn’t surprised. We live in a male dominated world. Where the males are credit for great mental achievements. Men don’t think females are as mentally capable as them so it makes it hard for people to take women seriously in areas like philosophy and science. So I can expect that women like Merit Ptah and Aspasia of Miletus wouldn’t get the recognition the deserve.


Chidera Onyeizeh

Kenisha Townsend said...

After reading this article I felt pretty inspired and motivated to continue in the science field. At times, it can become really intimidating when working with my male counterparts for lab experiments or in class, because I feel they don't trust my judgement due to me being a female. However, this article explored many great discoveries of women in science. One thing that really stood out to me was how the Greek physician Agnodike pretended to be a man because she wanted to study alongside the first anatomist due to several women dying "...in childbirth, or of reproductive diseases because they did not want to see a male physician" (312-313). This alone shows how it was mandatory to have women physicians so that other women can feel comfortable when visiting the doctor. Indeed, who knows more about the female body than a woman herself?

Kelsey McNeil said...

I have always felt that women do and should have a huge role within it the field of science. I do believe that women don't get enough credit when due and it is something that needs to change still today. The craziest part of reading all of this was the fact that it goes back so far in the past and it is still relevant today. One of the parts that stood out to me the most was on page 312 where it talks about Agnodike who was a greek physician and pretended to be a man in order to research women dying during childbirth and reproductive diseases (312-313). It is truly eyeopening to see the things women needed to go through and do in order to learn and how many years they might have gone unrecognized.

Kelsey McNeil

Jordan R. said...

What interested me most was to find out that the first recorded physician was a woman of color in Egypt, "She was the chief physician of the pharaoh's court during the Second Dynasty.... the administrator of Sais, one such medical school for women, oversaw all women physicians in the empire" (312). Seeing that I'm a woman of color and I want to become a doctor, I find this story encouraging.

Jazsmine Towner said...

Prior to seeing the movie "Hidden Figures" that was about women scientists, specifically women of color, I was never exposed to women in the experimental scientific field. Much of the science that women are mentioned involves behavioral sciences, such as applied psychology. In the article, it stated “Another woman of science is mainly remembered for her husband, Mausolus (a recurring theme) (Wood 312). I find this statement very discouraging, the fact that women were only and still are only recognized for their relationship to men is egregious. I would think that their husbands would fight for their wife’s credit but many men were fine with this injustice. Even in today’s society, we see many accomplishments of women compared to the relationships they have with men, that was the most eye-opening component of this reading in my opinion.
-Jazsmine Towner

geonel mlb said...

After reading “The health effects of a world without darkness”, I have just come to a realize how much the little details we do not even pay attention to on our daily basis as so much impact on us. Not too long ago, we did not know that breathing could bring may disease to our health, because pollution in this industrial society is growing wider and wider every day. Today, we have to face the fact that “lights” on our daily basis is harmful to our health. It is funny that some of the things in the article are so realistic but we do not pay much attention to that because we are not educated enough to judge what we see.

I have a trouble sleeping with light, but I thought it was just my thing and did not realize until today that it is harmful to my health. After reading this, I take the resolution to keep myself away from my technological devices as much as I can because it has a negative effect on my body. Also, I will do my best to use a manual alarm instead of my phone so I won’t need to check it between my sleeps.

Geonel M.

Anonymous said...

After reading “The health effects of a world without darkness”, I have just come to a realize how much the little details we do not even pay attention to on our daily basis as so much impact on us. Not too long ago, we did not know that breathing could bring may disease to our health, because pollution in this industrial society is growing wider and wider every day. Today, we have to face the fact that “lights” may have some negative effect on our health. The funny thing is that we see most of the events said in the article on our daily basis, but we do not develop a critical thinking towards them by lack of education.

I have a trouble sleeping with light, but I thought it was just my thing and did not realize until today that it is harmful to my health. After reading this, I take the resolution to keep myself away from my technological devices as much as I can because it has a negative effect on my body. Also, I will do my best to use a manual alarm instead of my phone so I won’t need to check it between my sleeps.

Geonel M.

gabby said...

This chapter furthers my knowledge of women contributing to math, art, and science fields! I think it is very important to know that these fields started with women until they were made more masculine through men. With this, it made it harder for women to be as successful in these fields. A quote that stood out to me was, "...but because their contributions often go unacknowledged, they fade into obscurity and the threads of their influence today aren’t as apparent as they ought to be (311)." I think this quote is very important because it acknowledges the accomplishments of women during that times that aren't evident because of the male dominance. Women are a force in all of these fields and are overlooked by their masculine counterparts. It is essential that we give women their due praise to commend their hard work.

Anonymous said...

It's not shocking, especially in this field. Women's presence in science is still undervalued. I'm definitely not egalitarian when it comes to certain careers, but I'm glad women now have broadened options by the realization that they can be just as respectable in science. The mentioning of Apasia has me especially interested because philosophy is the root of all science. It takes someone to ask questions and seek answers when we dont know where to start. So how far back does undervaluing all of women's potential (outside of domestic stuff) really go? What in our biology and evolution lead to such an obviously incorrect ideology of women being universally less capable/credible?

-Ash Mason

Samontriona Perkins said...

I found this article very interesting because it went far back in time and talked about women not being taken seriously because they were women. Men look at women as people who should only be housewives and nothing more. This reading reminds me of the movie that recently came out called "Hidden Figures." There were many people that doubted those women, and they were not even acknowledged for a long time. We fail to realize that women do more than people think, and always have.

Anonymous said...

It was amazing to hear about the first women in ancient Egypt and Greece who had such a monumental impact on medicine. I was most interested in Agnodike who investigated childbirth and death of the mothers. Because of her resilience and courage, laws were passed that allowed other women to practice medicine. It shows me that women are pioneers!(312-313) Shelby W.

Anonymous said...

This article enforced the way that I think about women in not only science, but in all aspects of our advancement. women have done so much for us and sometimes we never know because I believe our society was shaped by men of the past who thought women were objects and took credit for their work. There are some men who do it still to this day, but at least in our current day and age we all view it as wrong. One of the women that stuck out to me was Metrodora, the only woman in Greece to ever talk about gynecology. This topic is very important because we don't see this practice go into circulation and mainstream life until later! yet she isn't credited to have started the field. It is important for women to care for their bodies because without women, how can we move on to the future?

- Jonathan Sanchez

Jasmyn Kloster said...

One quote that stood out to me was, “Women are woven deeply into history of science, stretching back to ancient Egypt over 4,000 years ago. But because their contributions often go unacknowledged, they fade into obscurity -and the threads of their influence today aren’t as apparent as they ought to be.” (311). Even in the start of the article it begins the conversation that women’s contributions to society have gone virtually unrecognized for centuries. This article really spell out women’s achievements over time that I had not realized.

Anonymous said...

The quote that stood out to me was, “But because their contributions often go unacknowledged they fade into obscurity and the threads of their influence today aren’t apparent as they ought to be” (311). My original thoughts were that women just weren't allowed to do many things in the past and that's why we don't hear much of what they had done, but really they made many discoveries and just didn't get the credit for their hard work.

-Marcus Underwood

Donovan Washington said...

The quote that stood out the most to me was, "She [Merit Ptah] was the chief physician of the pharaoh's court during the Second Dynasty" (312). This quote makes wonder why we rarely learned about the accomplishments of women in early human history. I understand that women were seen as lesser to men but the fact that we didn't even give credit to some women for their accomplishment in medicine is very unfortunate. The text also talks about how she might have been the first women scientist. Unfortunately we cant tell for sure because a lot of women were not recorded for their accomplishments.