Eleven people walked away from this year’s Nobel Prize announcements with a share in one of the international community’s most cherished honors. But aside from their noteworthy accomplishments, the many notables also shared something else: All of them are men.
The 2016 Nobel winners are the first in four years to be exclusively male — two of the ten winners of last year’s prizes were women and youngest-ever winner Malala Yousafzai was one of two women to win in 2014.
But the dearth of female winners is a trend embedded deeply into the Nobel Prizes’ past. Only 48 women can claim the Swedish Academy’s honor, out of more than 800 winners in the prizes’ 115-year-history. One winner, Marie Curie, won the Prize twice — first for Physics in 1903, then for Chemistry in 1911.
Women make up a disproportionately small fraction of Nobel Prize winners across categories — in Literature, for example, only 14 women have ever claimed the Nobel Prize.
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And in Economics, only one woman — Elinor Ostrom of the United States — has shared the prize.
The last year without a single named female winner was 2012.