For centuries, women have had trouble being seen as equals. This affects the probability of their ideas and inventions being taken seriously. However, we use so many of said inventions in our day-to-day lives. We often take these creations for granted and we don’t realize how significant it is that they were made by women. Items such as white-out, medical syringes, life rafts and so much more were created by amazing female leaders. For example:
1) Windshield Wipers
In 1902, a woman named Mary Anderson realized how dangerous it was to drive in the rain and began to work on a windshield wiper prototype. Of course, since she was a woman in the early 1900s it was difficult for her to sell her genius invention and her patent eventually expired. Then, in 1922, a similar invention was created and Cadillac began to include windshield wipers on their vehicles. Though it seems this invention is often overlooked, when you think about it you realize how necessary they truly are. Not only would driving in bad weather be horrible but getting bugs and other things off your windshield would be far more difficult and probably unpleasant.
2) Double Helix DNA
Double Helix DNA was originally discovered by Rosalind Franklin, a British Biophysicist. Unfortunately, the credit is normally given to James Watson and Francis Click who even won a Nobel Prize for their supposed “discovery.” It was not until recently that Franklin started to get credit for her work. This discovery was really important to mention because women often are underestimated and ignored when it comes to the STEM field. We are often taught about men in science and their great discoveries, but not about women. This can make girls feel discouraged by leaving them with little to no female role models in STEM. Finally, Franklin is getting the credit she deserves, and we can properly learn about the true discoverer of Double Helix DNA.
3) Life Raft
In the early 1880s, Maria Beasley made a new and improved version of the life raft. Not only was it fireproof, safer, and more practical, but her invention was so successful that it was even used on the Titanic and saved almost 1,000 lives. Later, in 1882, she updated her previous version of the life raft and received a new patent. Not only was this a useful invention and fantastic accomplishment, but Maria Beasley has also created many other things such as foot warmers and a stream generator, as well as a barrel-hooping machine–which is used to put the hoops on barrels. Beasley’s invention made her a small fortune and aided in the construction of up to 1,500 barrels a day. Her stream generators were also very successful and patented in 1886. They were used to extract energy from moving bodies of water. She even made an improved version of the foot warmer and got a patent for it in 1878. Beasley was considered a professional inventor and an extremely influential woman. Maria Beasley is a great role model and achieved several amazing things, especially considering her times. She’s truly a great inventor.
4) Medical Syringe
The medical syringe was invented by Letitia Geer in 1899. Before her invention, Blaise Pascal’s version of a medical syringe was used for centuries. Pascal’s invention was much more difficult to use and required the use of both hands. Greer’s version is far more similar to the ones we use today. With this one-handed syringe, operations were made easier and safer. Her medical syringe was given a patent the same year it was invented. She made a big and important step in the medical field. Like Rosalind Franklin, Greer is a fantastic role model for women and girls. Though most likely someone would have come up with the one-handed syringe by now, without Letitia Greer who knows how much longer they would have had to use a double-hand syringe.
5) Bulletproof Fiber
In 1966 a DuPont researcher, Stephanie Kwolek, discovered Kevlar. Kevlar is a very strong and heat-resistant synthetic fiber. Though it was first used as a replacement for steel in race car tires, kevlar was later used for an abundance of things. Kevlar was used to make bulletproof vests, gloves, jackets, combat helmets, bridge cables, frying pans, and more. The discovery of kevlar was very important because of its strength, durability, and protective properties. People don’t always realize how necessary her discovery was. We don’t only need kevlar for bulletproof vests, but we also use it in our everyday lives. 1966 was an especially hard time for women to get recognized or appreciated for the things they did. Kwolek’s discovery was not only a way to improve gear, clothes, pans, and more, but it was a good way to show women that they can discover and create great things to protect themselves and others.
6) Liquid Paper
Liquid paper was made by a secretary named Bette Nesmith Graham in 1951. Liquid paper is similar to today’s wite-out. It is used to correct written or typed mistakes by layering a white paint-like liquid over the mistake and writing or typing the correct word, letter, or term on top of the paint once it dries. It was originally marketed as “Mistake-Out” and was used for typewriters. It became very popular amongst other secretaries and her coworkers. From this one invention, Bette Graham made a fortune. She’s a truly inspiring woman that began as a secretary and became a self-made multimillionaire. Little did she know that her small invention to benefit herself would become a writer’s best friend. Making a mistake when writing or typing may just be a small inconvenience, but I’m sure we’re all tremendously grateful for this simple fix.
7) Monopoly Board Game
Finally, we have the game of Monopoly, known for turning a fun family game night into an all-out war. Monopoly is a real-estate game where you buy and sell properties to avoid going bankrupt. This board game was created by Elizabeth Magie in 1904. The creation was originally called “The Landlord’s Game” and it was used to demonstrate and teach about capitalism. Her creation quickly became a staple of the board game industry. Elizabeth Magie was the creator of Monopoly, but she was also a designer, writer, and feminist. She helps to encourage women to join the field of entertainment as well as explore multiple career paths. It’s fair to say she was a jack of all trades and a marvelous inspiration. As you can tell from this portion of the evidence, Magie was a very impressive woman.