Saturday, September 10, 2011
Marie Curie: The opposite of a woman
When discussing gender politics, one of my favorite examples to bring up is Marie Curie. For those who don't know, Marie Curie was a chemist/physicist in the late 19th century/early 20th century in Europe. Through hard work alongside her husband, she discovered the element on the periodic table known as "radium," which today is the key factor in radiation cancer treatment. Marie Curie is a wonderful example that not all women fit into the typical female stereotypes. To list a few: Curie was a terrible mother. She completely neglected her children for the benefits of her research and pawned them off onto her in-laws who practically raised them alone. In her partnership with her husband, professionally, she was the primary researcher, it was because of her that radium was discovered, and on the published paper regarding the discovery, her name appeared first (which signifies the primary contributor in the scientific world). This was at a time when it was thought that women should be at home, and men were the smarter and more professionally apt gender. The nobel prize committee wanted to reward the couples success, however refused to include Marie in that award, solely her husband. This illustrated the extreme gender bias of the period, especially in the world of science and academia. Her husband ultimately refused the award until the committee acknowledged Marie's contribution, which they did after some time. Curie certainly began to pave the way for women in academia to follow her, however, even today women still face bias. Curie is a primary example for why such bias is unprecedented and uncalled for.