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 2014, a total of 133 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 1,600 living Fellows and Foreign Members in 2018, 8.5 percent are women compared to 0.4% in 1945.[7][8]

Fellows[edit]

List of female Fellows
Year of election Image Fellow Field(s) Notes Ref.
1945 Kathleen Lonsdale in 1968 Kathleen Lonsdale Crystallography Awarded the Davy Medal in 1957 [9][10]
Marjory Stephenson Biochemistry, microbiology [11][12]
1946 Agnes Arber Botany [13][14]
1947 Mary Cartwright Mathematics Awarded the Sylvester Medal in 1964 [15][16]
Portrait of Dorothy Hodgkin Dorothy 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 [17][18]
Muriel Robertson Protozoology, bacteriology [19][20]
1948 Sidnie Manton Entomology Her sister Irene Manton was elected FRS in 1961. [21][22]
Dorothy Needham Biochemistry [23][24]
1952 Honor Fell Zoology [25][26]
Marthe Vogt Neurology Awarded the Royal Medal in 1981 [27][28]
1954 Rosalind Pitt-Rivers Biochemistry [29][30]
1956 Helen Porter Plant physiology [31][32]
1957 Charlotte Auerbach Zoology, genetics Awarded the Darwin Medal in 1976 [33][34]
1958 Edith Bülbring Pharmacology [35][36]
1959 Ann Bishop Protozoology, parasitology [37][38]
Sylvia Tait Endocrinology [39][40]
1961 Portrait of Irene Manton Irene Manton Botany Sister of Sidnie Manton (elected FRS 1948) [41][42]
1963 Sheina Marshall Marine biology [43][44]
1964 Eleanor Margaret Burbidge Astrophysics [45]
1965 Dorothy Hill Geology [46]
1966 Mary Pickford 1990.jpg Lillian Mary Pickford Endocrinology [47]
1967 Emmeline Jean Hanson Biophysics [48][49]
1969 Winifred Watkins Biochemistry Awarded the Royal Medal in 1988 [50][51]
1971 Florence Gwendolen Rees Zoology, parasitology [52][53]
1972 Mary Parke Phycology [54][55]
Ruth Sanger c1950.jpg Ruth Sanger Hematology, serology [56][57]
1973 Brigitte Askonas Immunology [58]
Mary Lyon in 2010 Mary Lyon Genetics Awarded the Royal Medal in 1984 [59]
1975 Anne McLaren Developmental biology, genetics Foreign Secretary and Vice-President of the Royal Society 1991–96, and awarded the Royal Medal in 1990 [60]
1976 Patricia Clarke Biochemistry Delivered the Leeuwenhoek Lecture in 1979 [61]
Elsie Widdowson Nutrition [62][63]
1977 Helen Muir.jpg Helen Muir Rheumatology [64]
1979 Brenda Milner at TEDxMcGill, 2011 Brenda Milner Neuropsychology Delivered the Humphry Davy Lecture in 1989 [65]
Winifred Tutin Botany [66]
Janet Vaughan Physiology [67][68]
Janet Watson Geology [69][70]
1982 Noreen Murray Molecular genetics Vice-President of the Royal Society 2002–04, and awarded the Gabor Medal in 1989 [71]
1985 Naomi Datta Genetics [72]
Miriam Rothschild Entomology, botany [73][74]
Anne Warner Developmental biology [75]
1986 Jean Thomas Biochemistry Biological Secretary and Vice-President of the Royal Society 2008–present [76]
Elizabeth Warrington Neuropsychology [77]
1987 Olga Kennard Crystallography [78]
1988 Barbara Pearse Molecular biology [79]
1989 Honorary degree recipient Anne Treisman speaking at Congregation ceremony 2004.jpg Anne Treisman Psychology [80]
1990 Louise Johnson Biochemistry, crystallography [81]
Carole Jordan Astronomy [82]
1991 Enid MacRobbie Biophysics [83]
1992 Elizabeth Blackburn in 2009 Elizabeth Blackburn Molecular biology Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2009 [84]
Suzanne Cory Genetics Awarded the Royal Medal in 2002 [85]
1993 Patricia Jacobs Genetics [86]
1994 Dusa McDuff in 2009 Dusa McDuff Mathematics [87]
1995 Julia 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 [88]
Shirley Tilghman in 2006 Shirley Tilghman Molecular biology [89]
1996 Jan Anderson Biology [90]
Dianne Edwards Paleobotany [91]
Linda Partridge 01.JPG Linda Partridge Genetics, biogerontology Delivered the Croonian Lecture in 2009 [92]
1997 Philippa Marrack Immunology Awarded the Wellcome Foundation Prize in 1990 [93]
1998 Jean Beggs Genetics Awarded the Gabor Medal in 2003 [94]
Cheryll Tickle Developmental biology [95]
1999 Frances Ashcroft Physiology [96]
Rosa Beddington Developmental biology [97][98]
Lorna Casselton in 2010 Lorna 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 [99]
Athene Donald at the NIMR Wikipedia edit-a-thon on 25 July 2013 Athene Donald Physics Delivered the Bakerian Lecture in 2006 [100]
Portrait of Janet Thornton Janet Thornton Bioinformatics [101]
2000 Janet Rossant.jpg Janet Rossant Developmental biology [102]
Patricia Simpson Developmental biology [103]
2001 Brigid Hogan Developmental biology [104]
Frances Kirwan in 2009 Frances Kirwan Mathematics [105]
Sheila Sherlock Medicine [106][107]
2002 Anne Dell Biochemistry [108]
Judith Howard Chemistry, crystallography [109]
Georgina Mace Conservation biology, ecology [110]
Mary Rees Mathematics [111]
2003 Portrait of Jocelyn Bell Burnell Jocelyn Bell Burnell Astrophysics Awarded the Michael Faraday Prize in 2010 [112]
Mariann Bienz Molecular biology [113]
Kay Davies portrait 2008.jpg Kay Davies Genetics [114]
Eleanor Dodson Biochemistry [115]
Ann Dowling in 2011 Ann Dowling Mechanical engineering [116]
Bridget Ogilvy in 1987 Bridget Ogilvie Parasitology [117]
Elizabeth Robertson Cell biology [118]
Karen Vousden Molecular biology [119]
Fiona Watt.jpg Fiona Watt Molecular biology [120]
2004 Caroline Dean journal pgen 1003593 g001.png Caroline Dean Botany [121]
Lynn Gladden Chemical engineering Awarded the Bakerian Lecture for 2014 [122]
Carol Robinson Chemistry Awarded the Rosalind Franklin Award in 2004, and the Davy Medal in 2010 [123]
Nancy Rothwell P1030027 (23707820741) (cropped).jpg Nancy Rothwell Biology [124]
2005 Deborah Charlesworth Evolutionary biology [125]
Uta Frith in 2012 Uta Frith Developmental psychology [126]
2006 Valerie Beral Epidemiology [127]
Ruth Lynden-Bell Computational chemistry [128]
Trudy Mackay Genetics [129]
Helen Saibil Molecular biology [130]
2007 Gillian Bates Biology Delivered the GlaxoSmithKline Prize and Lecture in 1998 [131]
Barbara Rosemary Grant Evolutionary biology Awarded the Darwin Medal in 2002 [132]
Ottoline Leyser Botany Awarded the Rosalind Franklin Award in 2007 [133]
Rhodes.jpg Daniela Rhodes Molecular biology [134]
Veronica van Heyningen Genetics [135]
2008 Anne O'Garra at the NIMR Wikipedia edit-a-thon on 25 July 2013 Anne O'Garra Immunology [136]
DMV-JahrestGraz2009ENoether-VL UlrikeTillmann UniOxf FotovonThomasVogt.jpg Ulrike Tillmann Mathematics [137]
2009 Jennifer Clack Paleontology, evolutionary biology [138]
Wendy Hall in 2011 Wendy Hall Computer science [139]
Christine Holt Developmental neuroscience [140]
Angela McLean Mathematical biology Awarded the Gabor Medal in 2011 [141]
Karen Steel Biology [142]
2010 Andrea Brand Molecular biology Awarded the Rosalind Franklin Award in 2006 [143]
ProfEleanorCampbellportraitphoto.jpg Eleanor Campbell Physical chemistry [144]
Nicola Clayton Comparative cognition [145]
Victoria Kaspi Astrophysics Delivered the UK-Canada Rutherford Lecture in 2010 [146]
Elizabeth Simpson Biology [147]
2011 Doreen Cantrell Immunology [148]
Clare Grey Chemistry Kavli Medal and Lecture in 2011 [149]
Janet Hemingway 2014.jpg Janet Hemingway Tropical medicine [150]
Professor Fiona Powrie.jpg Fiona Powrie Gastroenterology [151]
Angela Vincent Biology [152]
2012 Micheledougherty ras 10apr2015.jpg Michele Dougherty Astrophysics [153]
Margaret Robinson Molecular biology, cell biology [154]
2013 Judith Armitage Biochemistry [155]
Gillian Griffiths Cell biology, immunology [156]
Joanna Haigh Atmospheric physics [157]
Edith Heard Epigenetics [158]
Anne Mills Anne Mills Health economics [159]
Maria Grazia Spillantini Neurology [160]
Brigitta Stockinger Immunology [161]
Sophie Wilson in 2009 Sophie Wilson Computer architecture [162]
Julia Yeomans Physics [163]
2014 Professor Dorothy Bishop FBA FMedSci FRS.jpg Dorothy Bishop Psychology [164]
Sally Davies Sally Davies Medicine [165]
Professor Marian Dawkins CBE FRS.jpg Marian Dawkins Zoology [166]
Professor Amanda Fisher FMedSci FRS.jpg Amanda Fisher Biology [167]
Professor Jenny Nelson FRS.jpg Jenny Nelson Physics [168]
Dr Karalyn Patterson FBA FMedSci FRS.jpg Karalyn Patterson Neuroscience [169]
Sheena Radford Biophysics [170]
2015 Professor Jane Clarke FMedSci FRS.jpg Jane Clarke Biophysics [171]
Anne-Cutler-FRS.jpg Anne Cutler Psycholinguistics [172]
Annette-Catherine-Dolphin-FRS.jpg Annette Dolphin Pharmacology [173]
Yvonne Elsworth Helioseismology [174]
Alison-Mary-Etheridge-FRS.jpg Alison Etheridge Probability [175]
Professor Jane Alison Langdale FRS.jpg Jane A. Langdale Plant development [176]
Professor Dame Julia Mary Slingo DBE FRS.jpg Julia Slingo Meteorology [177]
Professor Natalie C. J. Strynadka FRS.jpg Natalie Strynadka Biochemistry [178]
2016 Professor Polina Bayvel FREng FRS.jpg Polina Bayvel Optical communication [179]
Professor Katharine Cashman FRS.jpg Katharine Cashman Volcanology [180]
Professor Sarah Cleaveland OBE FRS.jpg Sarah Cleaveland Epidemiology [181]
Professor Christl Donnelly FMedSci FRS.jpg Christl Donnelly Epidemiology [182]
Professor Maria Fitzgerald FMedSci FRS.jpg Maria Fitzgerald Neuroscience [183]
Pratibha Gai Microscopy [184]
Professor Dame Anne Glover DBE FRS.jpg Anne Glover Biology [185]
Dame Sue Ion DBE FREng FRS.jpg Sue Ion Nuclear power [186]
Professor Eugenia Kumacheva FRS.jpg Eugenia Kumacheva Chemistry [187]
Professor Corinne Le Quere FRS.jpg Corinne Le Quéré Climate change [188]
Professor Eleanor Maguire FMedSci FRS.jpg Eleanor Maguire Neuroscience [189]
Professor Caroline Series FRS.jpg Caroline Series Mathematics [190]
Professor Alison M. Smith OBE FRS.jpg Alison Smith Plant biochemistry [191]

Foreign Members[edit]

List of female Foreign Members
Year of election Image Member Field(s) Notes Ref.
1955 Lise Meitner in 1946 Lise Meitner Nuclear physics [192]
1969 Inge Lehmann Seismology [193]
1989 Nicole Le Douarin Developmental biology Delivered the Humphry Davy and Claude Bernard Lecture in 1987 [194]
Barbara McClintock at work in her laboratory Barbara McClintock Cytogenetics Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983 [195]
1990 Christiane Nusslein-Volhard in 2007 Christiane Nusslein-Volhard Genetics, embryology Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1995 [196]
1995 Gertrude Elion.jpg Gertrude Elion Biochemistry, pharmacology Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1988 [197]
Salome Gluecksohn-Waelsch Genetics [198]
Rita Levi-Montalcini in 2009 Rita Levi-Montalcini Neurology Awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1986 [199]
2001 Clara Franzini-Armstrong Developmental biology [200]
2004 Jane Lubchenco in 2009 Jane Lubchenco Marine biology Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere of the United States 2010–present [201]
2005 Catherine Cesarsky.jpg Catherine Cesarsky Astronomy [202]
2008 Barbara Hohn Molecular biology [203]
Susan Solomon in 2004 Susan Solomon Atmospheric chemistry [204]
2010 Pascale Cossart in 2011 Pascale Cossart Bacteriology [205]
2011 Joanne Chory Molecular biology, Cell biology [206]
Carla Shatz Neuroscience [207]
2012 Bonnie Bassler Molecular biology [208]
2013 Margaret Buckingham Developmental biology [209]
2014 Joan Steitz Molecular biology [210]
2015 Dr Linda Buck ForMemRS.jpg Linda Buck Olfactory system [211]
Professor Susan Lindquist ForMemRS.jpg Susan Lindquist Molecular biology [212]
Gail Roberta Martin ForMemRS.jpg Gail Martin Developmental Biology [213]
2016 Professor Jennifer Doudna ForMemRS.jpg Jennifer Doudna Biochemistry [214]
Professor Ellen Williams ForMemRS.jpg Ellen Williams Nanotechnology [215]
2017 Marcia McNutt Royal Society.jpg Marcia McNutt geophysics [216]
Susan Wessler Royal Society.jpg Susan R. Wessler Plant molecular biology [217]
2018 Carolyn Bertozzi IMG 9384.jpg Carolyn R. Bertozzi Systems biology [218]
Portrait of Fabiola Gianotti.jpg Fabiola Gianotti Particle physics [219]

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.[220]

List of female honorary and Statute 12 fellows
Year of election Image Fellow Field(s) Notes Ref.
1983 Margaret Thatcher in mid-1990s Margaret Thatcher Politics Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1979–1990) [221]
1988 Margaret Gowing Margaret Gowing History of science Delivered the Wilkins Lecture in 1976 [222]
2007 Onora O'Neill in the House of Lords Onora O'Neill Philosophy, politics [223]
2015 Professor Lisa Jardine CBE FRS.jpg Lisa Jardine History [224]

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.[225] 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.[220][226] This has since been relaxed to allow the election of any member of the British Royal Family.[227] Those elected by virtue of their royal blood or marriage are known as Royal Fellows.[228] From the beginning of the practice of British royal patronage in the 18th century,[229] the reigning monarch of Great Britain (and since 1801 that of the United Kingdom), starting with King George I,[230] 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 [231]
1947 Queen Elizabeth II in 2007 Queen Elizabeth II Queen of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms, and patron from 1952 [232]
1956 Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1986 Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Queen consort of King George VI [232]
1987 Anne, Princess Royal in 2007 Princess Anne Princess Royal [233]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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