Agnes Ann Green, 90; Science Teacher Pushed for Women in Chemistry
Agnes Ann Green, 90, who advocated for the advancement of women in chemistry during a long career as a science educator at Immaculate Heart College and other area institutions, died Thursday of lung cancer at her home in Los Angeles.
Sister Agnes Ann was a member of the Immaculate Heart community for 70 years. She taught chemistry at the college from 1942 to 1978, and was a visiting professor for many years at other schools, including Loyola Marymount University, Occidental College, Whittier College and Cal Poly Pomona.
In 1972, she became the first female chairman of the Southern California section of the American Chemical Society. She formed a committee of female chemists to examine the status of women in the field and to press for equal employment opportunities.
To draw attention to the inequities, she often cited statistics showing that in 1970 women made up only 2% to 3% of the chemistry faculties at U.S. universities, but held almost 23% of the master’s degrees and 8% of the doctorates granted that year.
She also noted that many companies only hired female chemists for their lower-paying jobs. “We don’t send our graduates to them,” she told The Times in 1972, when she chaired Immaculate Heart’s chemistry department.
Green was born in Alvin, Ill., and moved to San Bernardino with her family in 1926 when she was in high school. After graduating from Immaculate Heart College in Hollywood, she earned a master’s degree at USC and a doctorate at Stanford University.
She was a founding member of the California Assn. of Chemistry Teachers and served as its president. She joined the American Chemical Society in 1942. In 1988, the society honored her with its first Agnes Ann Green Distinguished Service Award for her contributions to the field.