Estelle Ramey

This week for WiSE Wednesday we’re featuring Dr. Estelle Ramey co-founder and former president of The Association for Women in Science (AWIS). She was an endocrinologist who became famous after a confrontation and debate with Edgar Berman, a then retired surgeon and part of the Democratic National Committee on National Priorities in 1970. After he made comments that a woman would be unfit to be president because of “raging storms of monthly hormonal imbalances” Estelle Ramey published a letter in the Washington Evening Star refuting his comments based on science and debated him at the National Women’s Press Club. After her comments gained national attention Berman was forced to resign and Ramey became a popular speaker.

From the time Estelle was young, her mother – despite having no formal education herself, encouraged Estelle to pursue her education as a path to independence. She received her bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College in biology and math in 1937, then received her master’s from Columbia University. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in physiology and went on to teach at Queens College and the University of Tennessee before becoming faculty at Georgetown. She was an endocrinologist who studied the link between stress and hormones. She was a professor of physiology and biophysics at Georgetown University Medical School and also studied differences between males and females.

Throughout her career, she was an outspoken advocate for women in science. She led a campaign against a textbook company that used a picture of a nude female stripper to illustrate anatomy. She was a founder and president of AWIS and the President’s Advisory Committee for Women.

She died in 2006 at the age of 89 leaving behind her husband and daughter.

Entry courtesy of Claire Regan

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