Saturday, 8 March 2014

Happy International women's day!

Marie Curie was the first female to win a Nobel prize, the only female to win a Nobel prize in two fields, and the only person, male or female, to ever win a Nobel prize in two different fields of science (Physics for radiation, chemistry for the discovery of Radium and Polonium)

Henrietta Swan Leavitt was responsible for discovering predictable properties of Cepheid variable stars (standard candles).  A discovery that enabled astronomers to calculate distances to very distant stars and led to the proof of other galaxies.

To me their gender is irrelevant, they were just clever people.  However the Nobel committee were going to exclude Marie Curie from receiving her Nobel prize and award it only to her husband and research partner Henri Becquerel.  Henriette Swan Leavitt was not allowed any observation time through the telescopes because women were not allowed telescope time in the early 1900's.  It's good that circumstances change over time.  Even though our past is not all roses with relation to gender equality we have improved, and although we are still not perfect we do have the potential (and desire I hope) to continue to improve.

When text is considered the literal, unaltered, timeless and immutable words of an all knowing entity it is (as far as I can see) impossible for those rules to be reconsidered.  This is one scenario where I think that non-literalist Muslims are helping to make the world a better place.  Here are some women related verses from the Quran.

Key
Quran: Holy book of Islam.
Tafsir: Expert commentary on verses of Quran by Islamic scholars.
Hadith: Accounts from Muhammad's life which are also used as part of the Islamic law system.


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