Today, Google posted its third birthday Doodle of the year, and British anthropologist Mary Leakey has joined Jackie Robinson and Frank Zamboni as this year’s honorees! At this very moment, in the United States, women are represented in Doodles at a 33% rate, better than they’ve done before — and certainly better than last year, when half the year went by and women were not represented in a single one of the 16 Doodles posted at that point.
I would be thrilled if Doodles were able to keep this up, and if this represents a change in the thinking on the Doodles team. We have a long way to go to hit 50% representation, consistently, but maybe 25% is in reach this year.
A bit more about Leakey:
Born February 6, 1913, in London, today would have been her 100th birthday. As a young woman, she was profoundly interested in archaeology, though formal schooling didn’t agree with her. Instead, she pursued archaeology by applying to work on summertime dig crews and by auditing lectures in the field at University College London.
In this period, she met Louis Leakey, who would become her husband, and together they would found a dynasty of paleoanthropologists. This includes both their family — their son, Richard, is a professional in the field as well, and their other two sons also participated in their work — and others supported by their mentorship and their foundation, such as Dian Fossey. Mary Leakey worked primarily in Olduvai Gorge, a place whose name is almost synonymous with the Leakeys, and dedicated her work to uncovering the human family through early human fossils.
Leakey is best known for a series of discoveries, including the Laetoli footprints in Tanzania, which are depicted in the Doodle. Dated at 3.6 million years old, these provided the oldest evidence of bipedalism in hominids. She also discovered the first Proconsul skull and a Paranthropus skull, and jointly discovered Homo habilis.
(In case Leakey brought you to Speaking Up today, you might also be interested in yesterday’s post, which highlights Doodle-Worthy women who could have been on Google’s radar in January — but weren’t.)