Women in STEM – how pioneering astronomer Vera Rubin overcame sexism

29 December 2016

Although encouraging women into STEM careers now has focus from government’s, educational institutions and businesses, this was not the case in the 1950s when American astronomer Vera Rubin was struggling to make her name.

The entrenched sexism of the 50s and 60s, particularly in the field of science, made it extremely difficult for Vera to successfully publish theories and progress her career as an astronomer. However she eventually used this sexism to her advantage and went on to make one of the most important astronomical breakthroughs in the history of science – she discovered ‘dark matter’.

Her story is an empowering reminder of what all women can achieve, despite the still-present obstacle of gender disparity in the workplace.

Read Vera’s story in the Sydney Morning Herald here.

Watch the SBS tribute documentary to Vera Rubin here.

In this image taken in the 1970s and provided by the Carnegie Institution of Washington, Vera Rubin uses a measuring engine
Image courtesy of the Carnegie Institution of Washington