Image for STEM role model posters celebrate female innovators

STEM role model posters celebrate female innovators

Illustrated by female artists, the series of eight posters features a biotechnologist, a chemist and an astronaut

Illustrated by female artists, the series of eight posters features a biotechnologist, a chemist and an astronaut

Eight inspiring female innovators have been featured in a series of posters. Role models from the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics – or STEM, as it is often referred to – appear on the works by illustrators from South America, Africa, the Middle East and China.

The series came about as a result of Nevertheless, a podcast that tells the stories of women who are transforming teaching and learning through technology.

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After an initial set was published, such was the demand for them to be reproduced in languages other than English, that the posters are now available to download in eight languages. Timed to coincide with International Women’s Day, they are now available in English, French, French Canadian, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese and Chinese.

“We’d love you to download the posters and print them out for your school or workplace,” said a spokesperson from Nevertheless. “By taking part, you’ll help raise awareness of their achievements, and hopefully inspire a new generation of women working in STEM.”

In pictures: posters that celebrate female STEM role models

Dr Hayat Sindi – scientist and innovator

Dr Hayat Sindi was born in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, and is one of the world’s leading biotechnologists. She is the founder and president of the i2 Institute and a co-founder of Diagnostics For All. She was ranked by Arabian Business magazine as the 19th most influential Arab person in the world and the ninth most influential Arab woman. Sindi has a PhD in biotechnology from Newnham College, Cambridge, which she achieved in 2001; she was the first Saudi woman to be accepted at Cambridge University to study in the field of biotechnology, and the first woman from any of the Arab states of the Persian Gulf to complete a doctoral degree in the field.

Illustration by Lidia Tomashevskaya, a freelance illustrator from Tel Aviv, Israel

Juliana Rotich – technologist and entrepreneur

Juliana Rotich is a technologist, strategic advisor, entrepreneur, and keynote speaker. She is co-founder of BRCK Inc, a hardware and services technology company based in Kenya. BRCK was formed to enable communication in low infrastructure environments by developing useful, innovative technologies. Juliana also co-founded Ushahidi Inc., a non-profit tech company, which specialises in developing free and open source software for changing how information flows in the world.

Illustration by Thandiwe Tshabalala, a graphic artist based in Cape Town

Maria da Penha – biopharmacist and human rights defender

Maria da Penha is a Brazilian biopharmacist and human rights defender. She advocates for women rights, particularly against domestic violence. When da Penha was almost killed by her husband, she found there wasn’t a single police station she could go to in Brazil that specialised in violence against women. The case that she filed languished in court for two decades, while her husband remained free. Years later, in a landmark ruling, the Court of Human Rights criticised the Brazilian government for not taking effective measures to prosecute and convict perpetrators of domestic violence. In response to this, the Brazilian government in 2006 enacted a law now known as the Maria da Penha Law on Domestic and Family Violence, which increased the severity of punishment for domestic violence against women, whenever it occurred in a domestic or family environment.

Illustration by Camila Rosa, a freelance illustrator and designer from Brazil

Tu Youyou – pharmaceutical chemist and educator

Tu Youyou is a Chinese pharmaceutical chemist and educator. She discovered artemisinin (also known as qinghaosu) and dihydroartemisinin, drugs that are used to treat malaria. Her discovery was a significant breakthrough in 20th century tropical medicine, saving millions of lives around the world.

For her work, Youyou received the 2011 Lasker Award in clinical medicine and the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, jointly with William C. Campbell and Satoshi Mura. She is the first Chinese Nobel Laureate in physiology or medicine, and the first female citizen of the People’s Republic of China to receive a Nobel prize in any category. She is also the first Chinese person to receive the Lasker Award. Youyou was born, educated and carried out her research exclusively in China.

Illustrated by Xu Hui, an illustrator from Jinan, China

Mae C. Jemison – astronaut and doctor

Mae C. Jemison is an American engineer, physician and Nasa astronaut. She became the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992. She resigned from Nasa in 1993 to establish a company researching the application of technology to daily life. She has appeared on television several times, including as an actress in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. She is a dancer and holds nine honorary doctorates in science, engineering, letters, and the humanities. She is the current principal of the 100 Year Starship organisation.

Illustration by Karina Perez, a Mexican American illustrator and designer

Cynthia Breazeal – scientist and roboticist

Dr. Cynthia Breazeal is an associate professor of Media Arts and Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she founded and directs the Personal Robots Group at the Media Lab. She is also founder and chief scientist of Jibo, Inc. She is a pioneer of Social Robotics and Human Robot Interaction. She authored the book Designing Sociable Robots, and she has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles in journals and conferences on the topics of Autonomous Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Human Robot Interaction, and Robot Learning.

Illustration by Joana Neves, a digital artist from Portugal

Gladys West – mathematician

Gladys West is a US mathematician known for her contributions to the mathematics underpinning GPS. Her contributions to GPS were only uncovered when a member of her sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, read a short biography West had submitted for an alumni function.

Illustration by Geneva B, a self-taught illustrator from North Carolina

Rosalind Franklin – scientist

Rosalind Franklin was a pioneer of the study of molecular structures, receiving recognition among scientists for her research on the molecular structure of coal, viruses and DNA. Her X-ray diffraction images of DNA enabled the University of Cambridge’s Francis Crick and James Watson to identify the molecule’s double helix structure. For years her work on the structure went unnoticed as only Crick, Watson and Franklin’s colleague Maurice Wilkins received the Nobel Prize for the discovery in 1962. In 2003 The Royal Society established the Rosalind Franklin Award to bring attention to outstanding work of women in STEM.

Illustration by Juliette Brocal, an animation student and illustrator from France


All illustrations courtesy of Nevertheless Podcast / Women You Should Know