These legendary women paved the way for girls in science

Tuesday marks the start of Women’s History Month, a time to commemorate and celebrate the vital role of women in American history.

This is the perfect time to learn more about the powerful women who came before us: especially in science.

Now more than ever, we see STEM programs and opportunities for girls in science and math. But it wasn’t always like that. Here is an interesting piece all about the birth of Women’s History Month and why the United States has been celebrating (and making sure women get their due!) since the 1980s.

Below are 21 photos from Getty Images, showing pioneering female scientists over the years. Some of these faces can be recognized and some cannot. What a perfect time to find out more, this month of March.

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American engineer and astronaut Mae Jemison works in weightlessness in the center aisle of the Spacelab Japan science module aboard OV-105, the space shuttle Endeavour, during NASA’s STS-47 mission September 20, 1992. Jemison was a mission specialist (MS) on the flight, and became the first black woman to travel in space. (Getty Images)
Scientist Jane Goodall studies the behavior of a chimpanzee during her research on February 15, 1987 in Tanzania. (Liaison/Getty Images)
NASA scientist Valerie Thomas stands in front of a blackboard with the first bands compatible with Landsat computers at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, in this 1979 photo. (NASA/Getty Images)
A close-up of smiling Dr. Virginia Apgar, taken on January 1, 1973. Apgar was an American physician, obstetrical anesthesiologist, and medical researcher, best known as the inventor of the Apgar score, a way to quickly assess the health of a newborn immediately after birth in order to combat infant mortality. (Getty Images)
Lisa Meitner, an Austrian-Jewish scientist credited with being one of the first to research the development of the atomic bomb, is pictured shortly after arriving by plane in New York. (Getty Pictures)
British paleoanthropologist Mary Leakey with the skull of a small primate, circa 1940. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Celebrating their return to the surface after a two-week stay at the bottom of the Caribbean as part of the Tektite 2 underwater research project, female scientists sip rum drinks from a pineapple after emerging from decompression. Dr. Sylvia Earle of the Los Angeles County Museum, Ann Hartline and Alina Szmant of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography near San Diego, California; Secretary Hickel; Dr. Renate True, of Tulane University; and Margaret Ann Lucas of the University of Delaware are featured. (Getty Pictures)
Mathmatician Mary Jackson, NASA’s first black female engineer, poses for a photo at work at NASA’s Langley Research Center in 1977 in Hampton, Virginia. (Bob Nye/NASA/Getty Images)
This is an undated handout photo of Dr. Margaret Mead, 1901-1978, as she holds a Pacific Rim artifact. (Getty Pictures)
Meet Austrian-American actress Hedy Lamarr. She is also known for inventing frequency hopping – a method of transmitting radio signals by rapidly changing the carrier frequency among many distinct frequencies occupying a wide spectral band. (Corbis via Getty Images)
A portrait of Israeli Nobel Prize-winning scientist Ada Yonath as she poses in her laboratory at the Weizmann Institute, in Rehovot, Israel, March 7, 2002. (Getty Pictures)
Former Russian cosmonaut and lecturer Valentina Nikolayeva Tereshkova attends a news conference at the Soviet Embassy in London during a tour of England October 31, 1977. She was the first woman to orbit the Earth in Vostok 6 from June 16 to 19, 1963. . (Central Press/Getty Images)
Dr. Rosalyn Yalow, a nuclear physicist who spent 30 years researching hormones at the Bronx Veterans Administration Hospital, works in her lab on October 13, 1977, after learning she was one of three American doctors to receive the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1977. Sharing the honors with her for their work in the field of hormones, Dr. Roger Guillman of the Salk Institute in San Diego and Dr. Roger V. Schally of the Veterans Administration Hospital in New Orleans. (Getty Pictures)
Dr. Antonia Novello, who at the time was a candidate for the new surgeon general position, is seen in this photo testifying before the Senate Committee on Labor and Resources February 9 in Washington. When later confirmed (in 1990), Novello, then 45, a Puerto Rican-born pediatrician, became the first woman and first Hispanic to hold the position. (Getty Pictures)
Barbara McClintock, a Nobel Prize-winning geneticist, holds an ear of corn. (Getty Images)
Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu, a professor of physics at Columbia University in New York, is shown at work with the apparatus used in the experimental work that is said to have conclusively proven a fundamental new theory in nuclear physics: the theory of vector current conservation. Cited as one of the world’s foremost experimental physicists, Professor Wu and two associates tested the theory in a long series of experiments. The theory deals with a type of subatomic behavior called “weak interaction”, one of nature’s four basic types of physical interaction. (Getty Pictures)
This is a portrait of Elizabeth Blackwell, who lived from 1821 to 1910, the first woman (in 1849), to receive a medical degree in the United States (Getty Pictures)
Medical students dissect cadavers during an anatomy class at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. (Getty Images)
In this Oct. 22, 1947 photo, taken in St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Gerty Cori, associate professor of pharmacology and biochemistry at Washington University School of Medicine is shown. (Getty Images)
Researcher Gertrude Elion is getting back to work in the lab after being named a Nobel laureate in medicine. Elion and his colleague George Hitchings were chosen for the honor for their work in developing drugs to treat leukemia and AIDS. (Getty Images)
Here is Madame Curie experimenting at the University of Paris. Curie was a physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. (Getty Images)

All the pictures: Getty Images

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