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Science Author: FDA Consumer Health Information Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:06:33 PM

Women Scientists at FDA: A Legacy to be Proud Of

By FDA Consumer Health Information
Mar 27, 2014 - 2:45:47 PM

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( - This is National Women's History Month, a good time to reflect on FDA's history of advancing women as scientists and health professionals. This tradition began with FDA's predecessor in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the Bureau of Chemistry in the Department of Agriculture.  Several early female FDA scientists came out of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the first universities in the country to offer women chemistry degrees in the late 19thcentury. 

Harvey Wiley, known as the Father of the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act and its "crusading chemist," hired FDA's first female laboratory chief.  When his superiors found out that the "M. E. Pennington" he had selected to head a research laboratory was actually Mary Engles Pennington, he successfully argued that since she had received the top score on the Civil Service exam, he had no grounds on which to refuse her the position.  His argument carried the day.

Read the entire blog at FDA Voice.


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