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Women increasingly valued by the Nobel Prize

By Yuan Can (People's Daily Online)    17:53, October 12, 2015

A total of 49 female have won the Nobel Prize in the prize's history, according to the official website of the prize, while more than 860 people have been honored with the prize since 1901.

In a long period, women are not treated equally as men in the prize's history. Rosalind Franklin, a British female chemistry on DNA double helix structure, was never nominated for a Nobel Prize. She died of breast cancer in 1958, and during her lifetime the DNA structure was not considered as fully proven. Franklin's X-ray diffraction images, which implied a helical structure for DNA and enabled inferences concerning certain key details thereof, were shown to James Watson by Maurice Wilkins. Her work was published in the series of three DNA Nature articles, led by the paper of Watson and Francis Crick. Watson, Crick and Wilkins shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1962.

(Photo/Nobel Foundation)

In fact, the prize has been awarded 14 times to female from 1901 to 1960, with the Curies taking up three places. This situation did not get better in the following 20 years with only five female got the prize. However, female scientists have played increasingly important role in science. A total of 11 female got the prize from 1981 to 2000. Furthermore, 14 female won the prize from 2000 to 2014.

Female's role is equal to that of male in the prizes in Physiology or Medicine, Literature and Peace. On the contrary, female is not so welcomed as male in the prizes in Physics, Chemistry and economics. Only one woman, Elinor Ostrom, an American economist, got the Nobel Prize in 2009. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Yuan Can,Bianji)

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