These gorgeous portraits of female scientists illustrate the importance of women in STEM fields

We tell little girls that they can be and do anything, so why is it that still only 24% of all employees in STEM fields (that’s Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) are women? It certainly doesn’t have anything to do with inherent ability or initial interest, arguments that have been made against—and dismantled by—girls and minorities alike. And yet, girls serially underrate their own math and science problem solving abilities, despite taking more math and science classes on average than boys. (Though, teacher bias might also be working against girls’ math grades.)

With all this in mind, we’re in love with artist Rachel Ignotofsky’s “Women in Science” series. These whimsical illustrations serve as portraits for some of the leading scientific minds of our time, paired with descriptions of their landmark scientific discoveries and achievements. Not just pretty to look at, Ignotofsky’s illustrations are a welcome spotlight on women who are still footnotes in many science textbooks. (Or ignored entirely; never forget, never forgive, Watson and Crick.)

Check out some of Ignotofsky’s illustrations in the series — and why yes, you can pick up prints here.

Our most public STEM icons are, in textbooks and pop culture, largely men. This isn’t to diminish the accomplishments of those amazing scientists, engineers, and theorists, but the cycle of female underrepresentation in STEM fields is definitely linked to the absence of heroines amongst its most high profile heroes. We’re only just starting to undo assumptions about women in STEM (see: I F***ing Love Science’s amazing #WomenYouShouldHaveHeardOf submissions), and hopefully one day soon, the stigma against and around girls in those fields will be obsolete, ground to dust by even more female pioneers.

(Images via.)