February is LGBT History Month. One of LGBT History Month Scotland’s themes this year is Unsung People – reveal unheard stories of LGBTQ+ life. So, to celebrate LGBT History Month we’ve put together a blog of the 7 LGBT women in STEM you should know.

Women face inequality in all STEM fields and LGBT women in STEM experience intersecting inequalities. Our recent report highlighted that over 80% of LGBT women who participated in our survey do not believe enough is being done to create inclusive workplaces or educational institutions. And 50% of LGBT women stated they do not feel confident reporting experiences of exclusion or discrimination to their employers. Read the full report here.

Clearly much is still needed to be done to create change. One step towards this is celebrating the contributions LGBT women have made to STEM. So, without further ado here are the 7 LGBT women in STEM you should know! 

Sophia Jex-Blake

Sophia Jex-Blake was the first woman doctor in Scotland. She led the campaign to secure women access to a University education when she and six other women, collectively known as the Edinburgh Seven, began studying medicine at the University of Edinburgh in 1869. Jex-Blake was in a romantic relationship with Dr Margaret Todd.

Sammie Le Sommer 

Despite leaving school with no qualifications, Sammie Le Sommer is now a research fellow at Aberdeen University, looking at the link between leukaemia and diabetes. She is also one of the founders of The STEM Village – a community that supports the growth of a strong LGBTQ+ STEM community in Scotland.

Emma Haruka Iwao 

Emma Haruka Iwao is a Japanese computer scientist and cloud developer advocate at Google. On Pi Day, 14 March 2019 Emma Haruka Iwao calculated the world’s most accurate value of pi – which included 31.4 trillion digits. The previous record being 22 trillion. 

Lauren Esposito 

Lauren Esposito is a world-renowned scorpion expert. She has discovered three new species of the insect and has completed studies on using scorpion venom for cancer research. She is one of the founding members of 500 Queer Scientists, a networking group for LGBTQ scientists across the globe. 

Polly Arnold

Arnold is a Professor of Chemistry at UC Berkeley, and previously a professor at the University of Edinburgh. Her research focuses on synthetic chemistry. Arnold has been awarded the Rosalind Franklin Award and an OBE for her work in chemistry and for women in STEM. 

Sally Ride

Sally Ride was an American astronaut and physicist. In 1978 she became the first American woman in space in 1983, and the third woman in space overall. At the time, Ride was just 32 years old, meaning she remains the youngest American astronaut. Although Sally Ride chose to keep her personal life very private, she was in a long term committed relationship with a woman, and fellow scientist Tam O’Shaughnessy.

Kate Craig-Wood

Kate Helen Craig-Wood is a British IT entrepreneur and the co-founder and managing director of Memset Dedicated Hosting. Her IT knowledge is self-taught, but that didn’t stop her winning a number of awards, including being listed 4th among the 25 most influential women in UK IT in 2012. Craig-Wood is a transgender woman, and she is known for promoting energy efficiency in IT, women in IT, and transgender acceptance.


Here at Equate Scotland, we work to make a positive difference for women in science engineering, technology and the built environment and actively work to change cultures in organisations and academia. Find out more about the services we offer and our extensive events program here: https://equatescotland.org.uk/