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Women’s History Month

In Focus

Women’s legacy at Harvard—first as staff members, then as students and faculty—shaped today’s University, and allows a new generation of women to build a better tomorrow.

A complicated history

While women weren’t taught at Harvard until 1879, they have always been a part of the University.

Read more at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute

From yesterday to today

Meet the trailblazers of Harvard’s past and the women who are carving their own paths today.

The first class of women at HMS, 1945

Students Then

First women at HMS

On June 4, 1944, the Harvard Corporation voted to accept women in the 1945 medical school freshmen class.

Read their story

A woman and her guide dog

Students Now

Haben Girma

In 2013, Haben Girma became the first deaf-blind student to graduate from Harvard Law School.

Read Haben’s story

Grace Hopper

Science Then

Grace Hopper

Computing pioneer Grace Hopper was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer and wrote what became the world’s first programming manual.

Read Grace’s story

An astronaut in a spaceship

Science Now

Jessica Meir

In 2019, former Harvard Medical School Professor Jessica Meir made history as part of the first all-woman spacewalk.

Read Jessica’s story

A women stands by the water

Arts & Advocacy Then

Barbara Deming

Starting in 1959, Barbara Deming focused her activism on women’s and lesbian issues. She founded a program, now named for her, that supports feminist projects in arts and education.

Explore Barbara’s papers at the Schlesinger Library

Two photos of students on a map

Arts & Advocacy Now

Vivekae Kim and Meena Venkataramanan

These Harvard students are telling stories of migration and immigration through podcasts, a newsletter, and photo essays, with their project “Stories from the Border.”

Read their story

A historic photo of Alice Hamilton

Faculty Then

Alice Hamilton

In 1918, Alice Hamilton became the first woman to be appointed to Harvard’s faculty.

Read Alice’s story

Drew Faust

Faculty Now

Drew Gilpin Faust

In 2007, Drew Gilpin Faust became the 28th President of Harvard University, the first woman to serve in that role.

Read President Faust’s story

Join us for the Harvard Women’s History Tour

This free, virtual, student-led tour, offered by the Harvard University Visitor Center, showcases the stories and sights of women’s challenges and triumphs throughout Harvard’s history.

Sign up for a tour

Black Women Oral History Project

The project interviewed and recorded 72 Black women who made significant contributions to American society during the first half of the 20th century.

Read and hear interviews from the Schlesinger Library

It was a great day, not only for me but all women, so few of whom had qualified for this coveted degree in the year 1921.”

– Sadie Alexander, one of the first three Black women in the United States to receive a Ph.D.

An older woman

Making history in the lab

The Wyss Institute is celebrating women whose work is changing the world.

Meet some of these extraordinary women