List of female Nobel laureates

As of 2020, 57 women have won the Nobel Prize, and a total of 58 Nobel Prizes have been awarded to women (Marie Curie won it twice, once in physics and once in chemistry). While a complete count as of 2020 has not been completed yet, it was counted in 2019 that Nobel Prizes had been awarded to a total of 866 men, 53 women, and 24 organizations (counting those who won multiple prizes only once each).[1]

All Nobel Prizes won by women (1901–2020)

The distribution of female Nobel Laureates is as follows:[2][3]

  • seventeen women have won the Nobel Peace Prize (12.6% of 107 individuals and 28 organizations in total[4]),
  • sixteen have won the Nobel Prize in Literature (13.7% of 117 laureates in total[5]),
  • twelve have won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (5.4% of 222 laureates in total[6]),
  • seven have won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (3.8% of 186 laureates in total[7]),
  • four have won the Nobel Prize in Physics (1.9% of 216 laureates in total[8]),
  • and two, Elinor Ostrom and Esther Duflo, have won the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences (2.4% of 84 laureates in total[9]).

The first woman to win a Nobel Prize was Marie Curie, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 with her husband, Pierre Curie, and Henri Becquerel.[2][10] Curie is also the only woman to have won multiple Nobel Prizes; in 1911, she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Curie's daughter, Irène Joliot-Curie, won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1935, making the two the only mother-daughter pair to have won Nobel Prizes.[2]

The most Nobel Prizes awarded to women in a single year was in 2009, when five women became laureates in four categories.

The most recent women to be awarded a Nobel Prize were Louise Glück in Literature, Andrea M. Ghez in Physics, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna in Chemistry (2020), Esther Duflo in Economics (2019), Donna Strickland in Physics, Frances Arnold in Chemistry, Nadia Murad for Peace, and Olga Tokarczuk in Literature (2018).


1903 Marie Skłodowska Curie
(shared with Pierre Curie and Henri Becquerel)
Poland and France Physics "in recognition of the extraordinary services they have rendered by their joint researches on the radiation phenomena discovered by Professor Henri Becquerel"[10]
1905 Bertha von Suttner Austria-Hungary Peace Honorary President of Permanent International Peace Bureau, Bern, Switzerland; Author of Lay Down Your Arms.[11]
1909 Selma Lagerlöf Sweden Literature "in appreciation of the lofty idealism, vivid imagination and spiritual perception that characterize her writings"[12]
1911 Marie Skłodowska Curie Poland and France Chemistry "for her discovery of radium and polonium"[13]
1926 Grazia Deledda Italy Literature "for her idealistically inspired writings which with plastic clarity picture the life on her native island and with depth and sympathy deal with human problems in general"[14]
1928 Sigrid Undset Norway Literature "principally for her powerful descriptions of Northern life during the Middle Ages"[15]
1931 Jane Addams
(shared with Nicholas Murray Butler)
United States Peace Sociologist; International President, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.[16]
1935 Irène Joliot-Curie
(shared with Frédéric Joliot-Curie)
France Chemistry "for their synthesis of new radioactive elements"[17]
1938 Pearl S. Buck United States Literature "for her rich and truly epic descriptions of peasant life in China and for her biographical masterpieces"[18]
1945 Gabriela Mistral Chile Literature "for her lyric poetry which, inspired by powerful emotions, has made her name a symbol of the idealistic aspirations of the entire Latin American world"[19]
1946 Emily Greene Balch
(shared with John Raleigh Mott)
United States Peace Formerly Professor of History and Sociology; Honorary International President, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.[20]
1947 Gerty Theresa Cori
(shared with Carl Ferdinand Cori and Bernardo Houssay)
United States Physiology or Medicine "for their discovery of the course of the catalytic conversion of glycogen"[21]
1963 Maria Goeppert-Mayer
(shared with J. Hans D. Jensen and Eugene Wigner)
United States Physics "for their discoveries concerning nuclear shell structure"[22]
1964 Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin United Kingdom Chemistry "for her determinations by X-ray techniques of the structures of important biochemical substances"[23]
1966 Nelly Sachs
(shared with Samuel Agnon)
Sweden and Germany Literature "for her outstanding lyrical and dramatic writing, which interprets Israel's destiny with touching strength"[24]
1976 Betty Williams United Kingdom Peace Founder of the Northern Ireland Peace Movement (later renamed Community of Peace People)[25]
Mairead Maguire
1977 Rosalyn Sussman Yalow
(shared with Roger Guillemin and Andrew Schally)
United States Physiology or Medicine "for the development of radioimmunoassays of peptide hormones"[26]
1979 Mother Teresa India and
Peace Leader of Missionaries of Charity, Calcutta.[27]
1982 Alva Myrdal
(shared with Alfonso García Robles)
Sweden Peace Former Cabinet Minister; Diplomat; Writer.[28]
1983 Barbara McClintock United States Physiology or Medicine "for her discovery of mobile genetic elements"[29]
1986 Rita Levi-Montalcini
(shared with Stanley Cohen)
Italy and
United States
Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries of growth factors"[30]
1988 Gertrude B. Elion
(shared with James W. Black and George H. Hitchings)
United States Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries of important principles for drug treatment"[31]
1991 Nadine Gordimer South Africa Literature "who through her magnificent epic writing has - in the words of Alfred Nobel - been of very great benefit to humanity"[32]
Aung San Suu Kyi Burma Peace "for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights"[33]
1992 Rigoberta Menchú Guatemala Peace "in recognition of her work for social justice and ethno-cultural reconciliation based on respect for the rights of indigenous peoples"[34]
1993 Toni Morrison United States Literature "who in novels characterized by visionary force and poetic import, gives life to an essential aspect of American reality"[35]
1995 Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard
(shared with Edward B. Lewis and Eric F. Wieschaus)
Germany Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries concerning the genetic control of early embryonic development"[36]
1996 Wisława Szymborska Poland Literature "for poetry that with ironic precision allows the historical and biological context to come to light in fragments of human reality"[37]
1997 Jody Williams
(shared with the International Campaign to Ban Landmines)
United States Peace "for their work for the banning and clearing of anti-personnel mines"[38]
2003 Shirin Ebadi Iran Peace "for her efforts for democracy and human rights. She has focused especially on the struggle for the rights of women and children"[39]
2004 Elfriede Jelinek Austria Literature "for her musical flow of voices and counter-voices in novels and plays that with extraordinary linguistic zeal reveal the absurdity of society's clichés and their subjugating power"[40]
Wangari Maathai Kenya Peace "for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace"[41]
Linda B. Buck
(shared with Richard Axel)
United States Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries of odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system"[42]
2007 Doris Lessing United Kingdom Literature "that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny"[43]
2008 Françoise Barré-Sinoussi
(shared with Harald zur Hausen and Luc Montagnier)
France Physiology or Medicine "for their discovery of HIV, human immunodeficiency virus"[44]
2009 Elizabeth Blackburn
(shared with Jack W. Szostak)
Australia and United States Physiology or Medicine "for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase"[45]
Carol W. Greider
(shared with Jack W. Szostak)
United States
Ada E. Yonath
(shared with Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas A. Steitz)
Israel Chemistry "for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome"[46]
Herta Müller Germany and Romania Literature "who, with the concentration of poetry and the frankness of prose, depicts the landscape of the dispossessed"[47]
Elinor Ostrom
(shared with Oliver E. Williamson)
United States Economics "for her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons"[3]
2011 Ellen Johnson Sirleaf Liberia Peace "For their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work"[48]
Leymah Gbowee
Tawakkol Karman Yemen

Alice Munro Canada Literature "master of the contemporary short story"[49]

May-Britt Moser
(shared with Edvard Moser and John O'Keefe)
Norway Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries of cells that constitute a positioning system in the brain"[50]
Malala Yousafzai
(shared with Kailash Satyarthi)
Pakistan Peace "for their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education".[51]
2015 Tu Youyou
(shared with William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura)
China Physiology or Medicine "for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria (artemisinin)"[52]
Svetlana Alexievich Belarus Literature "for her polyphonic writings, a monument to suffering and courage in our time"[53]
2018 Donna Strickland
(shared with Gérard Mourou and Arthur Ashkin)
Canada Physics "for their method of generating high-intensity, ultra-short optical pulses"[54]
Frances Arnold
(shared with Gregory Winter and George Smith)
United States Chemistry "for the directed evolution of enzymes"[55]
Nadia Murad
(shared with Denis Mukwege)
Iraq Peace "for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict"[56]
Olga Tokarczuk Poland Literature "for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life"[57]

Esther Duflo
(shared with Abhijit Banerjee and Michael Kremer)
France and United States Economics "for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty"[58]
2020 Andrea M. Ghez
(shared with Reinhard Genzel and Roger Penrose)
United States Physics "for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy"[59]
Emmanuelle Charpentier
(shared with Jennifer Doudna)
France Chemistry "for the development of a method for genome editing"[60]
Jennifer Doudna
(shared with Emmanuelle Charpentier)
United States Chemistry "for the development of a method for genome editing"[60]
Louise Glück United States Literature "for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal"[61]

See also

  • List of female nominees for the Nobel Prize


  • "Women Nobel Laureates". Nobel Foundation. Retrieved 2009-10-13.
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