Timeline: Progress for Women

Katharine Dexter McCormick rally

Katharine Dexter McCormick and Cora Anderson Carpenter at a suffrage rally in Chicago, 1917.


  • 1913 - Mary Plummer (SB V '15) becomes first woman student to become an elected class officer

  • 1920 - Women receive right to vote

  • 1922 - Dr. Elizabeth Gatewood Pietsch (PhD V), first woman to receive a PhD in Chemistry

  • 1922 - Frances Hurd Clark (SM V, ScD III) and Bertha Sanford Dodge (SM V) first women to receive masters degrees in Chemistry

  • 1927 - Dorothy Quiggle(SM X) first woman to receive a masters degree in Chemical Engineering

  • 1937 - Dr. Helen Breed Arnold (PhD VII), first woman to earn a PhD in Biology
  • 1937 - Dr. Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau (ScD X), first woman to receive an ScD in Chemical Engineering
  • 1953 - Luz S. Sy (SM X), first known Filipina woman to receive a degree in Chemistry
  • 1953- May Chow (SB VII ’53, SM VII ’54), one of the earliest Chinese women to graduate from MIT
  • 1956 - Niramol Bulakul (SM XX), first woman to graduate with an SM in XX and first known Thai woman to earn an advanced degree at MIT
Margaret Hutchinson Rousseau

Margaret Hutchinson certifying samples of penicillin at the FDA, undated.

Dorothy Quiggle

Dorothy Quiggle in laboratory, undated.

Niramol Bulakul

Niramol Bulakul at commencement, 1956.