Although things have changed considerably for women in the world of science since the brave and bold Marie Curie began paving the way, there are still far too few women pursuing science careers, including my own field of forest canopy biology. Simply put, we're missing out on a tremendous number of great minds.
In 2009 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) held its general assembly in Rio de Janeiro. Of the 2,109 participants, 667 (or 31.6 percent) were women. Indeed, in recent years, the fraction of women among astronomers has been growing continuously. But who is considered to have been the first female astronomer?