A Woman of Firsts

It is 2020…100 years of women voting in this country.  As we look back to notable moments like this in history, we celebrate women leaders and acknowledge that the path to gender equality has not been inclusive and we are still on it.  For that reason, the Change Matrix team is beginning a series of personal essays about women.  They might be women we know who were models or mentors and influenced us as professionals.  They might be women whose work we have loved and integrated into our own.  They might be about our identification as women through a cultural lens.


Marie Curie, a physicist and chemist, was an amazing individual who received international acclaim for her contributions in both fields, including two Nobel prizes.

She faced onslaught regarding her knowledge and struggled to make herself known, just because she was a woman. Despite the reservations people had in terms of her work, she emerged victorious when they had to agree to the by-product of her strong and capable mind. Her various contributions made her the pioneer researcher in radioactivity. What lies on the other side of her multiple achievements is her inherent ability to never give up, her perseverance to be made known and recognized, and fueled by the desire to know everything and impart it to the world.

I strongly admire her strong sense of self-worth. She is the source of my inspiration whenever I feel my dedication breaking down, I think of her perseverance and get right up. In my opinion, curiosity of the human mind is something that works wonders. For if one is not curious about the wonders around them and just resigns to the daily monotony of life, one can’t discover their true self, to say nothing of the world. I admire her for her upstanding humility. By the way, her daughter commented that she did not know how to react to such popularity, for she was merely doing what she loved.

The level of recognition she received was only a fraction of what she truly deserved. My heart bleeds at the insurmountable odds she had to face to make herself genuinely known. It mirrors the depiction of modern society, which, despite its prosperity, has an impending bias toward the acclamations of a woman. How people’s reactions to news and their ability to believe something varies with gender. This deeply rooted misogyny was even more pronounced during her time, which makes her achievements all the more astonishing. Her fight against misogyny motivates me to channel my ideas onto the world without fear of oppression, for the novel and the unique are always oppressed, no matter what.

Marie Curie’s curiosity was so deeply rooted that it did not remain in her but was passed on to her daughter, Irene Joliot Curie. Not only was her daughter a profound chemist, but she received acclaim for it in the form of a Nobel Prize in 1935. This motivates me to be so influential that my effect is carried on to at least one individual in my life. It brings happiness to the feminist in me that Marie Curie was not only a strong being but also someone whose ideals were reflected in the people around her.

Marie Curie’s passion for her work was exceptional, and it paved the way for her to become such an excellent researcher in her field. I learned to keep that curiosity and passion inside me and that when the going gets tough, you get tough along with it.