The Women in STEM Collection

From L to R, Top to Bottom: 1. Healthcare worker in scrubs, face shield and a mask 2. Woman working on an airplane motor at North American Aviation in Long Beach California, 1942 3. Lt. Madeline Swegle in Kingsville, TX, 2020 4. Annie Easley at NASA’s Lewis Research Center in 1955

Celebrating trailblazers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Throughout history, women have been at the forefront of critical advancements in science and technology, responsible for early developments in space exploration and aviation, and have led the charge to generate solutions for some of the world’s most challenging medical issues.

While women have always been present and leaders in these areas, they have often been given less recognition than their male counterparts. Despite the progress we’ve made as a society when it comes to gender equality, there are still considerable gaps when it comes to women in STEM, and biases and outdated stereotypes still exist. Currently, women account for nearly half of the U.S. workforce, but only make up 27% of STEM workers.

The story we tell becomes the world we live in. Visual representation is a powerful way to help change the narrative around women in STEM. By making positive visual representations of women leading in these fields easily accessible for everyone to use, women and girls will be able to see themselves reflected in those roles and envision potential career paths. Innovation in STEM drives our economies, paves the way for new technologies, and builds the future. It’s critical that more women and girls choose careers in STEM so we can change the status quo and work toward a more equitable society for all.

This Women’s History Month, we’re paying tribute to women who have led the way in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics throughout history. From space exploration to vaccine research, early pioneers in medicine, chemistry, and more, our collection features images from a range of industries and the real stories of incredible women who have changed the course of history.

Explore 150+ photos from the Women in STEM collection, including images featuring:

Pioneers in Space and Aviation

From mathematicians including Katherine Johnson and Mary Jackson, who were critical to the success of early U.S. crewed space flights, to today’s leaders like Diana Trujillo, who leads the Mars Curiosity Rover mission, women have been at the forefront of advancements in space and aviation for decades. Our collection features images from NASA’s archives, as well as images from the U.S. Department of Defense.

Mathematician and Aerospace Engineer Mary Jackson at NASA: Astronaut Kay Hire greeting two young girls
Diana Tujillo, mission lead and Deputy Team Chief of the engineering division at NASA; Portrait of astronaut Dr. Mae C. Jemison
Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti honors Leonard Nimoy on the International Space Station

World War II Aviation Workers

During the second world war, more than 300,000 women worked in the U.S. aircraft industry. Women became artillery inspectors, aircraft welders, assemblers, gear cutters, chemical analysts and more. These images from the Library of Congress were shot on 4×5 transparency film and drove a new type of wartime feminism, bringing women into the STEM field of aviation.

Woman working on a B-52 engine in Inglewood, CA, 1942; Mechanic on a naval air base in Corpus Christi, Texas, 1942
Woman at work on a motor at Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach, California, 1942; Woman operating a hand drill at Vultee-Nashville, 1940’s; Mechanics working inside a bomber in Long Beach, California, 1942

Doctors, Nurses and Medical Researchers

Our collection features images of doctors, nurses, and medical researchers, including images from the CDC, the National Cancer Institute, and Navy Medicine.

Researcher using pipettes while seated, Bethesda, Maryland, 2008; Scientist in PPE holding a tray of samples
Medical professional during the COVID-19 pandemic; Research assistant at the Center for Health Studies in Guatemala City

Early Trailblazers in Science

Stunning images from the National Library of Medicine and the Smithsonian include photographs of early scientists like microbiologist Alice Evans, who pioneered critical work studying pathogenic bacteria in dairy products, entomologist Sophie Lutterlough, physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, and forensic ornithology pioneer Roxie Collie S. Laybourne.

Sophie Lutterlough at a microscope, 1983; Working in a science laboratory
Pharmacists in the 1940’s; Microbiologist Alice Evans working in her lab

The Next Generation

While women remain underrepresented in STEM, great strides are being made to inspire the next generation to pursue careers in STEM fields. Research shows powerful connections between positive representations of women in STEM and the impact those representations have on the future career choices of women and girls. By championing positive representations of women and girls in STEM and encouraging the use of visual resources that positively portray female leadership in these fields, we can help change the status quo and move toward a more equitable future.

Young woman holding a molecular model; Young woman examines a robotic dog
Group of female engineering students at Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, IL, 2012

For more visual resources that champion women in leadership across industries, explore our Empowered Women photo collection and the Redefining Women icon collection on Noun Project.