List of female Fellows of the Royal Society

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Fellowship of the Royal Society is open to scientists, engineers and technologists from the United Kingdom and Commonwealth of Nations, on the basis of having made "a substantial contribution to the improvement of natural knowledge, including mathematics, engineering science and medical science".[1] Election to the Fellowship is highly regarded and sought after, bringing prestige to both the individual academically and the institution the Fellow is associated with.[2] For scientists in the United Kingdom, the recognition is considered second only to being awarded the Nobel Prize.[3]

While there was no explicit prohibition of women as Fellows of the Royal Society in its original charters and statutes, election to the Fellowships was for much of the Society's history de facto closed to women. As a result of the dissolution of nunneries in connection with the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII, and female exclusion from schools and universities, the formal education of British girls and women was effectively non-existent throughout the 17th and 18th centuries. Women slowly gained admittance to learned societies in the UK starting in the 19th century, with the founding of the Zoological Society of London in 1829 and the Royal Entomological Society in 1833, both of which admitted women Fellows from their inception.[4][5]

The first recorded question of women being admitted to the Royal Society occurred in 1900, when Marian Farquharson, the first female Fellow of the Royal Microscopical Society, sent a letter to the Council of the Royal Society petitioning that "duly qualified women should have the advantage of full fellowship". In its reply, the Council stated that the question of women Fellows "must depend on the interpretation to be placed upon the Royal Charters under which the Society has been governed for more than three hundred years".[4] When Hertha Ayrton was nominated for Fellowship in 1902, her candidature was turned down on the basis that as a married woman she had no standing in law.[6] The Sex Disqualification (Removal) Act 1919 made it illegal for an incorporated society to refuse admission on the grounds of an individual's sex or marital status. While the Society acknowledged the provision of section 1 of the Act in 1925, in reply to a question originally put to them by the Women's Engineering Society three years prior, it was not until 1943 that another woman was nominated for Fellowship. Kathleen Lonsdale and Marjory Stephenson were duly elected in 1945, after a postal vote amending the Society's statutes to explicitly allow women Fellows.[4][5]

As of 2012, a total of 117 women have been elected Fellows. Two women have been elected under the Society's former Statute 12 regulation and one Honorary Fellow for their service to the cause of science. Another four women, from the British Royal Family, have been either Royal Fellows or Patrons of the Society. Of the approximately 1,450 living Fellows and Foreign Members, 5 percent are women.[7]

Fellows[edit]

List of female Fellows
Year of election Image Fellow Field(s) Notes Ref.
1945 Kathleen Lonsdale in 1968 Lonsdale, KathleenKathleen Lonsdale Crystallography Awarded the Davy Medal in 1957 [8][9]
Stephenson, MarjoryMarjory Stephenson Biochemistry, microbiology [10][11]
1946 Arber, AgnesAgnes Arber Botany [12][13]
1947 Cartwright, MaryMary Cartwright Mathematics Awarded the Sylvester Medal in 1964 [14][15]
Portrait of Dorothy Hodgkin Hodgkin, DorothyDorothy Hodgkin Biochemistry Awarded the Royal Medal in 1956, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1964, and the Copley Medal in 1976; delivered the Tercentenary Lecture in 1960 and the Bakerian Lecture in 1972 [16][17]
Robertson, MurielMuriel Robertson Protozoology, bacteriology [18][19]
1948 Manton, SidnieSidnie Manton Entomology Her sister Irene Manton was elected FRS in 1961. [20][21]
Needham, DorothyDorothy Needham Biochemistry [22][23]
1952 Fell, HonorHonor Fell Zoology [24][25]
Vogt, MartheMarthe Vogt Neurology Awarded the Royal Medal in 1981 [26][27]
1954 Portrait photograph of Rosalind Venetia Pitt-Rivers Pitt-Rivers, RosalindRosalind Pitt-Rivers Biochemistry [28][29]
1956 Porter, HelenHelen Porter Plant physiology [30][31]
1957 Auerbach, CharlotteCharlotte Auerbach Zoology, genetics Awarded the Darwin Medal in 1976 [32][33]
1958 Bülbring, EdithEdith Bülbring Pharmacology [34][35]
1959 Bishop, AnnAnn Bishop Protozoology, parasitology [36][37]
Tait, SylviaSylvia Tait Endocrinology [38][39]
1961 Portrait of Irene Manton Manton, IreneIrene Manton Botany Sister of Sidnie Manton (elected FRS 1948) [40][41]
1963 Marshall, SheinaSheina Marshall Marine biology [42][43]
1964 Burbidge, Eleanor MargaretEleanor Margaret Burbidge Astrophysics [44]
1965 Hill, DorothyDorothy Hill Geology [45]
1966 Pickford, Lillian MaryLillian Mary Pickford Endocrinology [46]
1967 Hanson, Emmeline JeanEmmeline Jean Hanson Biophysics [47][48]
1969 Watkins, WinifredWinifred Watkins Biochemistry Awarded the Royal Medal in 1988 [49][50]
1971 Rees, Florence GwendolenFlorence Gwendolen Rees Zoology, parasitology [51][52]
1972 Parke, MaryMary Parke Phycology [53][54]
Sanger, RuthRuth Sanger Hematology, serology [55][56]
1973 Portrait photograph of Brigitte Askonas Askonas, BrigitteBrigitte Askonas Immunology [57]
Mary Lyon in 2010 Lyon, MaryMary Lyon Genetics Awarded the Royal Medal in 1984 [58]
1975 McLaren, AnneAnne McLaren Developmental biology, genetics Foreign Secretary and Vice-President of the Royal Society 1991–96, and awarded the Royal Medal in 1990 [59]
1976 Clarke, PatriciaPatricia Clarke Biochemistry Delivered the Leeuwenhoek Lecture in 1979 [60]
Widdowson, ElsieElsie Widdowson Nutrition [61][62]
1977 Muir, HelenHelen Muir Rheumatology [63]
1979 Brenda Milner at TEDxMcGill, 2011 Milner, BrendaBrenda Milner Neuropsychology Delivered the Humphry Davy Lecture in 1989 [64]
Tutin, WinifredWinifred Tutin Botany [65]
Vaughan, JanetJanet Vaughan Physiology [66][67]
Watson, JanetJanet Watson Geology [68][69]
1982 Noreen Murray circa 2010, Edinburgh Murray, NoreenNoreen Murray Molecular genetics Vice-President of the Royal Society 2002–04, and awarded the Gabor Medal in 1989 [70]
1985 Datta, NaomiNaomi Datta Genetics [71]
Rothschild, MiriamMiriam Rothschild Entomology, botany [72][73]
Warner, AnneAnne Warner Developmental biology [74]
1986 Thomas, JeanJean Thomas Biochemistry Biological Secretary and Vice-President of the Royal Society 2008–present [75]
Warrington, ElizabethElizabeth Warrington Neuropsychology [76]
1987 Kennard, OlgaOlga Kennard Crystallography [77]
1988 Pearse, BarbaraBarbara Pearse Molecular biology [78]
1989 Treisman, AnneAnne Treisman Psychology [79]
1990 Johnson, LouiseLouise Johnson Biochemistry, crystallography [80]
Jordan, CaroleCarole Jordan Astronomy [81]
1991 MacRobbie, EnidEnid MacRobbie Biophysics [82]
1992 Elizabeth Blackburn in 2009 Blackburn, ElizabethElizabeth Blackburn Molecular biology Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009 [83]
Cory, SuzanneSuzanne Cory Genetics Awarded the Royal Medal in 2002 [84]
1993 Jacobs, PatriciaPatricia Jacobs Genetics [85]
1994 Dusa McDuff in 2009 McDuff, DusaDusa McDuff Mathematics [86]
1995 Higgins, JuliaJulia Higgins Polymer science Foreign Secretary and Vice-President of the Royal Society 2001–06, delivered the Blackett and Jagdish Chandra Bose Memorial Lecture in 2005 and the Humphry Davy and Claude Bernard Lecture in 2007 [87]
Shirley Tilghman in 2006 Tilghman, ShirleyShirley Tilghman Molecular biology [88]
1996 Anderson, JanJan Anderson Biology [89]
Edwards, DianneDianne Edwards Paleobotany [90]
Partridge, LindaLinda Partridge Genetics, biogerontology Delivered the Croonian Lecture in 2009 [91]
1997 Marrack, PhilippaPhilippa Marrack Immunology Awarded the Wellcome Foundation Prize in 1990 [92]
1998 Beggs, JeanJean Beggs Genetics Awarded the Gabor Medal in 2003 [93]
Tickle, CheryllCheryll Tickle Developmental biology [94]
1999 Ashcroft, FrancesFrances Ashcroft Genetics, physiology [95]
Portrait photograph of Rosa Beddington Beddington, RosaRosa Beddington Developmental biology [96][97]
Lorna Casselton in 2010 Casselton, LornaLorna Casselton Genetics Foreign Secretary and Vice-President of the Royal Society 2006–11, delivered the Rutherford Memorial Lecture in 2008 and the Blackett and Jagdish Chandra Bose Memorial Lecture in 2009 [98]
Athene Donald at the NIMR Wikipedia edit-a-thon on 25 July 2013 Donald, AtheneAthene Donald Physics Delivered the Bakerian Lecture in 2006 [99]
Portrait of Janet Thornton Thornton, JanetJanet Thornton Bioinformatics [100]
2000 Rossant, JanetJanet Rossant Developmental biology [101]
Simpson, PatriciaPatricia Simpson Developmental biology [102]
2001 Hogan, BrigidBrigid Hogan Developmental biology [103]
Frances Kirwan in 2009 Kirwan, FrancesFrances Kirwan Mathematics [104]
Sherlock, SheilaSheila Sherlock Medicine [105][106]
2002 Dell, AnneAnne Dell Biochemistry [107]
Howard, JudithJudith Howard Chemistry, crystallography [108]
Mace, GeorginaGeorgina Mace Conservation biology, ecology [109]
Rees, SusanSusan Rees Mathematics [110]
2003 Portrait of Jocelyn Bell Burnell Bell Burnell, JocelynJocelyn Bell Burnell Astrophysics Awarded the Michael Faraday Prize in 2010 [111]
Bienz, MariannMariann Bienz Molecular biology [112]
Davies, KayKay Davies Genetics [113]
Dodson, EleanorEleanor Dodson Biochemistry [114]
Ann Dowling in 2011 Dowling, AnnAnn Dowling Mechanical engineering [115]
Portrait photograph of Bridget Ogilvie Ogilvie, BridgetBridget Ogilvie Parasitology [116]
Robertson, ElizabethElizabeth Robertson Cell biology [117]
Vousden, KarenKaren Vousden Molecular biology [118]
Watt, FionaFiona Watt Molecular biology [119]
2004 Dean, CarolineCaroline Dean Botany [120]
Gladden, LynnLynn Gladden Chemical engineering Awarded the Bakerian Lecture for 2014 [121]
Robinson, CarolCarol Robinson Chemistry Awarded the Rosalind Franklin Award in 2004, and the Davy Medal in 2010 [122]
Rothwell, NancyNancy Rothwell Biology [123]
2005 Charlesworth, DeborahDeborah Charlesworth Evolutionary biology [124]
Uta Frith in 2012 Frith, UtaUta Frith Developmental psychology [125]
2006 Beral, ValerieValerie Beral Epidemiology [126]
Lynden-Bell, RuthRuth Lynden-Bell Computational chemistry [127]
Mackay, TrudyTrudy Mackay Genetics [128]
Saibil, HelenHelen Saibil Molecular biology [129]
2007 Bates, GillianGillian Bates Biology Delivered the GlaxoSmithKline Prize and Lecture in 1998 [130]
Grant, Barbara RosemaryBarbara Rosemary Grant Evolutionary biology Awarded the Darwin Medal in 2002 [131]
Leyser, OttolineOttoline Leyser Botany Awarded the Rosalind Franklin Award in 2007 [132]
Rhodes, DanielaDaniela Rhodes Molecular biology [133]
van Heyningen, VeronicaVeronica van Heyningen Genetics [134]
2008 Anne O'Garra at the NIMR Wikipedia edit-a-thon on 25 July 2013 O'Garra, AnneAnne O'Garra Immunology [135]
Tillmann, UlrikeUlrike Tillmann Mathematics [136]
2009 Clack, JenniferJennifer Clack Paleontology, evolutionary biology [137]
Wendy Hall in 2011 Hall, WendyWendy Hall Computer science [138]
Holt, ChristineChristine Holt Developmental neuroscience [139]
McLean, AngelaAngela McLean Mathematical biology Awarded the Gabor Medal in 2011 [140]
Steel, KarenKaren Steel Biology [141]
2010 Brand, AndreaAndrea Brand Molecular biology [142]
Campbell, EleanorEleanor Campbell Physical chemistry [143]
Clayton, NicolaNicola Clayton Comparative cognition [144]
Kaspi, VictoriaVictoria Kaspi Astrophysics Delivered the UK-Canada Rutherford Lecture in 2010 [145]
Simpson, ElizabethElizabeth Simpson Biology [146]
2011 Cantrell, DoreenDoreen Cantrell Immunology [147]
Grey, ClareClare Grey Chemistry Kavli Medal and Lecture in 2011 [148]
Hemingway, JanetJanet Hemingway Tropical medicine [149]
Powrie, FionaFiona Powrie Gastroenterology [150]
Vincent, AngelaAngela Vincent Biology [151]
2012 Dougherty, MicheleMichele Dougherty Astrophysics [152]
Robinson, MargaretMargaret Robinson Molecular biology, cell biology [153]
2013 Armitage, JudithJudith Armitage Biochemistry [154]
Griffiths, GillianGillian Griffiths Cell biology, immunology [155]
Haigh, JoannaJoanna Haigh Atmospheric physics [156]
Heard, EdithEdith Heard Epigenetics [157]
Anne Mills Mills, AnneAnne Mills Health economics [158]
Spillantini, Maria GraziaMaria Grazia Spillantini Neurology [159]
Stockinger, BrigittaBrigitta Stockinger Immunology [160]
Sophie Wilson in 2009 Wilson, SophieSophie Wilson Computer architecture [161]
Yeomans, JuliaJulia Yeomans Physics [162]

Foreign Members[edit]

List of female Foreign Members
Year of election Image Member Field(s) Notes Ref.
1955 Lise Meitner in 1946 Meitner, LiseLise Meitner Nuclear physics [163]
1969 Lehmann, IngeInge Lehmann Seismology [164]
1989 Le Douarin, NicoleNicole Le Douarin Developmental biology Delivered the Humphry Davy and Claude Bernard Lecture in 1987 [165]
Barbara McClintock at work in her laboratory McClintock, BarbaraBarbara McClintock Cytogenetics Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983 [166]
1990 Christiane Nusslein-Volhard in 2007 Nusslein-Volhard, ChristianeChristiane Nusslein-Volhard Genetics, embryology Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1995 [167]
1995 Portrait of Gertrude Elion Elion, GertrudeGertrude Elion Biochemistry, pharmacology Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1988 [168]
Gluecksohn-Waelsch, SalomeSalome Gluecksohn-Waelsch Genetics [169]
Rita Levi-Montalcini in 2009 Levi-Montalcini, RitaRita Levi-Montalcini Neurology Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1986 [170]
2001 Franzini-Armstrong, ClaraClara Franzini-Armstrong Developmental biology [171]
2004 Jane Lubchenco in 2009 Lubchenco, JaneJane Lubchenco Marine biology Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere of the United States 2010–present [172]
2005 Catherine Cesarsky in 2012 Cesarsky, CatherineCatherine Cesarsky Astronomy [173]
2008 Hohn, BarbaraBarbara Hohn Molecular biology [174]
Susan Solomon in 2004 Solomon, SusanSusan Solomon Atmospheric chemistry [175]
2010 Pascale Cossart in 2011 Cossart, PascalePascale Cossart Bacteriology [176]
2011 Chory, JoanneJoanne Chory Molecular biology, Cell biology [177]
Shatz, CarlaCarla Shatz Neuroscience [178]
2012 Bassler, BonnieBonnie Bassler Molecular biology [179]
2013 Buckingham, MargaretMargaret Buckingham Developmental biology [180]

Honorary and Statute 12 Fellows[edit]

Between 1903 and 1996, Statute 12 of the Society permitted the Council to elect someone who would not otherwise qualify for election under the normal criteria for "conspicuous service to the cause of science, or are such that their election would be of signal benefit to the Society". Statute 12 Fellows were replaced by the introduction of Honorary Fellows in 1997.[181]

List of female Honorary and Statute 12 Fellows
Year of election Image Fellow Field(s) Notes Ref.
1983 Margaret Thatcher in mid-1990s Thatcher, MargaretMargaret Thatcher Politics Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1979–90 [182]
1988 Gowing, MargaretMargaret Gowing History of science Delivered the Wilkins Lecture in 1976 [183]
2007 Onora O'Neill in the House of Lords O'Neill, OnoraOnora O'Neill Philosophy, politics [184]

Royal Fellows and Patrons[edit]

Throughout its history, the Royal Society has elected a number of individuals to its Fellowship by virtue of their being a member of the nobility.[185] Such elections were restricted first in 1874 to princes and members of the Privy Council, and subsequently in 1903 to princes of the British Royal Family only.[181][186] This has since been relaxed to allow the election of any member of the British Royal Family.[187] Those elected by virtue of their royal blood or marriage are known as Royal Fellows.[188] From the beginning of the practice of British royal patronage in the 18th century,[189] the reigning monarch of Great Britain (and since 1801 that of the United Kingdom), starting with George I,[190] has always served as patron of the Society.

List of female Royal Fellows and Patrons
Year of election Image Fellow / Patron Notes Ref.
1838 Queen Victoria in 1882 Queen Victoria Never elected as a Royal Fellow, instead served as Patron of the Society after her reign began as Queen of the United Kingdom and later Empress of India [191]
1947 Queen Elizabeth II in 2007 Queen Elizabeth II Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms, and patron from 1952 [192]
1956 Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1986 Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Queen consort of George VI [192]
1987 Anne, Princess Royal in 2007 Princess Anne Princess Royal [193]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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