One of my favorite exam questions for female students is to name five well-known scientists who are female. I ask for the name, the field of study, and specifically what she discovered or became famous for doing. I'm looking for names of women whose accomplishments are recognized beyond their own field. I have yet to find a student who can name more than two or three women. Most often named is Marie Curie, but students usually cannot explain precisely what she did. Second is Jane Goodall, and students do a better job of explaining her work. Then the students typically become stumped and ask if naming me counts (it doesn't).
Some students seem to think that there aren't very many notable women scientists and that it's not possible to name more than two or three. I name several for them and suggest that there are quite a few more, but that their stories are just not well known. I do find that female students are more curious about this question than about other questions asked of them during exams. Most students become interested enough to seek out books describing famous female scientists and inventors--they often contact me later to say that they really enjoyed reading about such women.