L: Pioneer (Overlooked Role in DNA Discovery)
R: Warrior (Environmental Activist, Peace and Democracy)
12” x 18” each
This work portrays two unbelievable women in history that fought to change the world both scientifically and for the future of women. Although we may recognize their names or know of their accomplishments, their faces are not always recognized.
Wangari Maathai (R), a Kenyan born environmental activist, became the first woman in East and Central Africa to earn her doctorate degree and was a prolific figure after being appointed assistant minister for Environment and Natural Resources. Before winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her contribution to sustainable development, peace and democracy, she founded the Green Belt Movement, that campaigned for the planting of trees across Africa. During her campaign and activist years, she was brutality clubbed and attacked for planting trees and protesting. When reported, the police did nothing. The Kenyan president at the time, Daniel arap Moi, referred to her as a threat, calling her “a mad woman.” Keeping her head up, Maathai fought for equality on the idea of peace and has helped restore ecosystems, and reduce the impact of climate change.
Rosalind Franklin (L), a revolutionary scientist was the first to discover the DNA double helix through her photograph 51. Unfortunately, after publishing two papers, her work was taken without permission and used by Francis Crick and James Watson who went on to claim the discovery of DNA structure and were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962. They gave no recognition to Franklin and portrayed her as a bad-tempered, arrogant woman. Only after her early death at age 32 did her discovery of DNA become better known. Because of this, we have the ability to map the human genome, create test-tube babies, genetic engineering and the investigation of viruses such as SARS-CoV-2.
“I have always believed that, no matter how dark the cloud, there is always a thin, silver lining, and that is what we must look for.”
– Wangari Maathia