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No women won a Nobel Prize this year

Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, making her one of 48 women to ever receive the Swedish Academy’s honor.
Malala Yousafzai was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, making her one of 48 women to ever receive the Swedish Academy’s honor. AP

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.

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.

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