Celebrating International Women’s DayMarch 8, 2023

As part of International Women’s Day and since this is the 50th Anniversary of the National Inventors Hall of Fame we thought it would be fitting to recognize the following women who have been inducted into this prestigious organization:

Mary Anderson-Windshield Wiper; Lynn Conway-Very Large-Scale Integration (VLSI); Margaret E. Knight-Machine for Making Flat-Bottom Paper Bags; Frances Arnold-Directed Evolution of Enzyme; Martha Coston-Signal Flares used by Ships; Stephanie Louise Kwolek-Kevlar® Fiber; Katalin Karikó-Modified mRNA Technology Used in COVID-19 Vaccines; Marian Croak-VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) Technology; Hedy Lamarr-Frequency Hopping Communication System; Patricia Bath-Laserphaco Cataract Surgery; Marion Donovan-Waterproof Diaper Cover; Josephine Garis Cochran-Dishwasher; Ruth Benerito-Wrinkle-Free Cotton; Jennifer Doudna-CRISPR-Cas9 Gene Editing; Rachel Fuller Brown-Nystatin (Antifungal/Antibiotic); Evelyn Berezin-Computer Systems for Business Use; Mildred Dresselhaus-Superlattice Structures for Thermoelectric Devices; Sumita Mitra-Nanocomposite Dental Materials; Carolyn Bertozzi-Bioorthogonal Chemistry; Gertrude Belle Elion-Anti-Leukemia Drugs; Kristina M. Johnson-Polarization-Control Technology; Helen Blanchard-Zig-Zag Sewing Machine; Helen M. Free-Glucose Detection for Diabetes; Mary Engle Pennington-Food Preservation and Storage; Sylvia Blankenship-1-MCP for Fruit, Vegetable and Flower Freshness; Elizabeth Lee Hazen-Nystatin (Antifungal/Antibiotic); Radia Perlman-Robust Network Routing and Bridging; Katharine Burr Blodgett-Langmuir-Blodgett Films; Beulah Louise Henry-Various Inventions for Daily Use; Jacqueline Quinn-EZVI (Emulsified Zero-Valent Iron); Gail Borden, Jr.-Process for Condensing Milk; Beatrice Hicks-Device for Sensing Gas Density; Patsy O. Sherman-Scotchgard™ Textile Protector; Yvonne Brill-Electrothermal Hydrazine Resistojet; Erna Schneider Hoover-Computerized Telephone Switching; Mary Dixon Kies-Process for Weaving Straw with Silk or Thread; Angela Hartley Brodie-Aromatase Inhibitors; Allene Jeanes-Dextran Production-Xanthan Gum; Harriet W. R. Strong-Water Storage and Flood Control; Chieko Asakawa-Home Page Reader; Edith Clarke-Graphical Calculator; Margaret Wu-Synthetic Lubricants; Mary-Dell Chilton-Transgenic Plant; Marjorie Stewart Joyner-Permanent Wave Machine; Maria Telkes-Solar Thermal Storage Systems; Lisa Lindahl, Hinda Miller & Polly Smith-Sports Bra; Esther Sans Takeuchi-Lithium/Silver Vanadium Oxide (Li/SVO) Battery Technology in Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillators (ICDs); Barbara Liskov-Programming Languages and System Design.

In addition, we also celebrate Sharen E. Brower, who was the first women inducted into the Iowa Inventors Hall of Fame for her invention of Non-Smearing Soy Based Ink.

It is a fitting tribute to these women for their genius in creating inventions that have made great advancements in the lives of everyone.

However, we would be remiss if we did not point out that only 8% of the inductees into the Hall of Fame are women and many have not been recognized e.g., Elsie, Edna and Louise Frankfurt who invented and patented an adjustable skirt for pregnant women. Their invention gave rise to their company, Page Boy,  that was known across the U.S. for designing, manufacturing and marketing the most fashion forward maternity clothes Americans have ever seen. Maria Beasley who invented the foldable life raft that could be unfolded in case of emergencies and was fire-proof, compact and safe. Sarah Breedlove, the first child born after the Emancipation Proclamation who invented a line of hair care products specifically for the needs of African American hair. We all know Joy Mangan who invented the self-wringing Miracle Mop and went on to sell millions of them on QVC and HSN along with numerous other patented inventions. There are so many more women who have created great inventions that are not being recognized for their achievements. It is time we celebrate this and you can do that by nominating them at: https://www.invent.org/inductees/nominate-inventor.

We also need to do more to inspire women inventors by supporting STEM programs at schools across the country like the USPTO’s Camp Invention™, Leaders-In-Training, and Leadership Interns. In addition, MVS supports the USPTO’s Empowering Women’s Entrepreneurship (WE) a community-focused, collaborative, and creative initiative to encourage and empower more women founders across America.  Anyone can join WE at no charge by emailing WE@uspto.gov and hear about all our upcoming, free programs!

Finally, a June 22, 2022 Washington Post article titled “Female scientists don’t get credit they deserve. A study proves it” stated that female scientists are 13 percent less likely than men to be named as authors on articles and 58 percent less likely than men to be named on patents. The findings suggest that women’s contributions to science continue to be underestimated. It is time we recognize these efforts since it helps to elevate and multiply the overall contributions of both women and men. Let us make the next 50 years a hallmark for bringing equality to recognizing the creative genius of women inventors everywhere.

Richard Marsolais is the Business Development Director at McKee, Voorhees & Sease, PLC. To learn more, visit our MVS website , or contact Richard directly via email.

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