Those of you unfamiliar with biology may not have heard of Jane Goodall but she has definitely left her mark upon science.
In 1945, when Jane was 11, she decided that she wanted to work with chimpanzees. If that happened today we wouldn’t think twice about it but at that time it wasn’t heard off for women to study science never mind to travel the world.
“Women weren’t really expected to get jobs back then. You just waited for a white knight to come along”
When studying for her PhD, she made the controversial decision to give her chimpanzees names. Upon submission of her thesis, it was sent back from review with the chimpanzee’s names changed to numbers and their gender changed to the impersonal, ‘it’. In response, Goodall scrapped the changes, stating it was her gender that allowed her to make her observations. Her discoveries revolutionised animal behavioural science.
“I think, actually, that probably had I been male, I wouldn’t have been pushing these anthropomorphic ideas that I had.”
Today, at 81, she has 5 professorships, 24 degrees and more than 60 awards and she doesn’t think that being female has halted her progress in any way. If that wasn’t enough she founded a conservation charity and is a UN messenger of peace.
“If you dream of something and you work hard and never give up, you find a way”
Emma Robson and Sam McMaster
Image courtesy of Floatjon, image hosted on Wikipedia.