The central portion of The Bold and the Brave explores issues for women in contemporary engineering and science, but the book begins with sections on the philosophical and historical views of women's nature and nurture.
Plato, for example, was opposed to equality for all women, but believed that some women were better equipped to be leaders than some men and therefore deserved the same training and education.
Aristotle, on the other hand, believed the female is a "deformed male." Jean-Jacques Rousseau argued that science is beyond a woman's grasp, so her education should be practical. David Hume wrote that women "are too easily swayed by their emotions."
Despite the fact that society agreed that women were not suited to science by their own nature and education was routinely denied their nurture, some woman made significant contributions to science. They rarely got credit for it.
The Danish astronomer Sophia Brahe (1556-1643) helped her brother Tycho Brahe predict comets and eclipses, but Tycho usually gets the credit.
Maria Winkelmann (1670-1720) discovered a comet, but her husband's name was on the report.
the above is an excerpt from an essay "From martyrdom to poor Mrs. Einstein: For women, science and engineering has been -- and is -- a long, hard road" by Joanne Laucius in which she reviews the book -- The Bold and the Brave: A History of Women in Science and Engineering, a contemporary report and history -- by Monique Frize.
Laucius notes: "Frize is a scientist, so it's no surprise that she uses numbers to illuminate the modern part of the story, which has hardly been a steady upwards-and-onwards. The Montreal massacre didn't appear to immediately discourage young Canadian women from studying engineering. Between 1990 and 1995, the number of young women who enrolled in undergraduate engineering courses increased to 22 per cent from 12 per cent."
Frize is also a writing professor (or at least gets her students writing history in and history of science). Read the rest here.