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In light of it being Women’s History month, I thought it was only right to pay homage to the women who changed the world but failed to get recognized for it. This list includes notable firsts, inventors and overall bad b*tches who  did what society told them they couldn’t do. 

Caresse Crosby – Inventor of the Brassier

Probably one of the biggest things women go through is wearing a bra, and yes, they are uncomfortable. We cannot wait to take them off, but before the modern bra came to be, a whalebone corset was the standard undergarment that women wore. It was so uncomfortable it caused severe health problems like broken ribs and regular fainting episodes from lack of air. This was until Caresse Crosby was dressing for her debutante ball and hated how the uncomfortable device looked. At the age of only 19, she fashioned a bra out of a pair of silk handkerchiefs, a cord, some pink ribbon and a needle and thread: creating the foundation for the modern bra.

Fun Fact: “Always yes, Caresse” was her motto 

Ada Lovelace –First Computer Programmer and Inventor of the Calculator  

At the age of 17, Ada Lovelace became an apprentice to mathematician Charles Babbage. Babbage is known as the father of the computer and created the difference engine, which was meant to perform mathematical calculations. But this isn’t an article about male empowerment, so let’s talk about how Ada made it even better. In her notes with her apprenticeship with Babbage, Ada described how codes could be created for the device to handle letters and symbols along with numbers. She also theorized a method for the engine to repeat a series of instructions, a process known as looping that computer programs use today.

Fun Fact: In 1980, the U.S. Department of Defense named a newly developed computer language “Ada,” after Lovelace.

Stephanie Kwolek – Kevlar

Kevlar is a durable plastic, first used as a replacement for steel reinforcing strips in racing car tires but is now used in combat armor and protection units due to its lightweight and high strength. But this wasn’t made by some strong military man, oh no. It was made by organic chemist Stephanie Kwolek who initially was working on ways to create lighter tires for better fuel economy. And bam, Kevlar was created. 

Fun Fact: In 1994, she was admitted to the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Sarah Breedlove / Madam C. J. Walker – Hair Products 

A fantastic story about an inspiring girl boss is the story of Sarah Breedlove. She later changed her name to Madam C.J Walker to sell products better. Still, Sarah Breedlove invented a line of African American hair products after suffering from a scalp ailment that resulted in her own hair loss. Her business led her to be one of the first American women to become a self-made millionaire.

Fun Fact: Her husband was the one to encourage her to use the more recognizable name, “Madam C.J. Walker.”

Ruth Graves Wakefield – Chocolate Chip Cookie

Here it is. The MOST fantastic contribution to humankind. This one takes the cake, or should I say cookie. In 1930, Ruth Graves Wakefield was mixing a batch of cookies for her roadside inn guests when she discovered that she was out of baker’s chocolate. She substituted broken pieces of Nestle’s semi-sweet chocolate, expecting it to melt and absorb into the dough to create chocolate cookies. That didn’t happen, but the surprising result helped to make Ruth Wakefield one of the 20th century’s most famous women inventors. When she removed the pan from the oven, Wakefield realized that she had accidentally invented chocolate chip cookies.

Fun Fact: Wakefield and her husband owned the Toll House inn, which would later be used in the Nestle Toll House brand.

Mary Edwards Walker – First Surgeon

In all United States History, there has only been one woman to receive the Presidential Medal of Honor. Mary Edwards Walker is that woman. As a surgeon, women’s rights advocate, abolitionist and spy, Walker became the first female U.S. Army surgeon during the Civil War. Period.

Fun Fact: She was stripped of the Honor medal title in 1917 when the terms used to designate eligibility for the award were renegotiated. She refused to surrender the medal and continued to wear it for the rest of her life. In 1977, thanks to the efforts of her family and a Congressional reappraisal of her achievements, the honor was restored.

Marie Stopes – First Birth Control Clinic

Marie Stopes was a leading 20th-century campaigner for women’s rights and birth control. She was educated as a scientist. She gained public attention in 1918 with the publication of her first book, Married Love. The book was a sensation because it discussed sexuality and birth control within a marriage of equal partners. It was condemned by the church, press and medical establishment. However, it sold out. More books followed, and in 1921, Stopes opened the first family planning clinic in North London. 

Fun Fact: Stopes passionately advocated eugenics. She called for compulsory sterilization of those deemed unfit for parenthood. Her concerns about passing on ‘inferior’ traits saw her disinherit her son when he married a woman who had poor eyesight.

Now, this is only a fraction of the amazing women that didn’t get the recognition they deserve. Other notable people are Catherine Brewer, the first woman to graduate college. Mae Carol Jemison, the first African American woman to go into space and don’t forget about Sixteenth-century Islamic pirate queen Sayyida Al-Hurra. So, let this go to show that we women are amazing, and we shouldn’t let anyone take that away from us.

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Hello! My name is Kartika Ahern, I am a freshman studying Biomedical engineering. In my free time I love photography, swimming and going to Chipotle with my friends. Follow me on Insta! @lil.tika
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