In the nineteenth century, women in Europe were still practically excluded from the world of science and technical fields in the name of their supposed natural inferiority. Only a few female intellectuals from the enlightened aristocracy contributed to progress and participated in scientific debates, with women occupying subordinate posts, and technical ones in particular. In the late nineteenth century, most European countries democratized access to education, sparking a de facto rise in the number of female students and researchers, despite sexist bias and even the denial of their discoveries. These pioneering women made a dent in this masculine world and were recognized for doing so, although they were awarded Nobel prizes sparingly. Since the mid-twentieth century, new generations of women scientists have proposed research issues ranging from pediatrics and neuroscience to food and the environment. Such female scientists nevertheless remain symbolic still today, being seen as exceptions rather than models.
Source : Women of science