Sunday, 5 March 2017

Women inventors

A challenge thrown out by the reactionary Polish member of the European Parliament (after he made a speech during a debate on the gender pay gap including the observation that "women must earn less than men because they are weaker, smaller and less intelligent") was "name one thing a woman has invented".

To be sure, women famous in the fields of science and technology were mostly researchers or facilitators. In my own field, Charles Babbage had the brilliant idea of the analytical engine, but it was Ada Lovelace who documented his inventions. The first standard business computer language, COBOL, would probably not have gained acceptance without the work of the "sewing circle" which included Grace Murray Hopper and Jean Sammet.

However, there have been inventions by women. On the domestic front, there is the Anywayup Cup, devised by the inspirational Mandy Haberman. Before personal computers made editing printed documents easy, corrected texts had to be retyped until Tippex came along, invented by Mike Nesmith's mum. Going back in time, there is a good case to be made for Eleanor Coade, though there is no historical record of how Coade Stone came to be invented.

Those were just memories, off the cuff, before any serious research. There must be other examples. The comments field is open (subject to the usual proviso that it is scanned by this blogger for any objectionable material before publication).

Later: EU supports female inventors with an annual Women Innovators prize. The 2017 finalists are introduced here.

1 comment:

Frank Little said...

A posting on Facebook reminds me that Hedy Lamarr was co-inventor of "frequency hopping",, essential to secure communications today.