I rarely sit down to think about the roots of the technology I use everyday. Have you ever wondered who invented the dishwasher? Or the work involved to make Bluetooth possible? Or who thought of making usable windscreen wipers?

The answer to all of these questions is: women! Women have invented some incredible technology over the years, making our lives much easier today. In tribute to these trailblazing women of history, here are eight inspirational women that deserve a nod of recognition for making our lives so much easier.

Josephine Cochrane, inventor of the dishwasher

If you’ve ever sighed with relief after closing the door on your dishwasher, you’ve got Josephine Cochrane to thank! Josephine invented the dishwasher in 1886, after her husband died, leaving her in debt. She broke through the barriers women faced and proved herself to be a worthy inventor of kitchen technology, just as equal to men. And saved us a ton of time and effort in the process.

Hedy Lamarr, inventor of Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth

This is a big one: famous actress Hedy Lamarr was an inventor in her spare time, and she happened to come up with some fairly relevant new technology. Her frequency hopping was the first step in creating Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth; pillars of modern technology that help our society run smoothly today. Phew.

Mary Anderson, inventor of windscreen wipers

Imagine trying to drive in a downpour without the benefit of windscreen wipers! We see wipers as a crucial part of car technology, something we absolutely cannot do without (especially if you live in the UK, where it rains approximately 80% of the time). Mary Anderson, after a visit to New York City in 1902, felt that she shouldn’t have to ride in unsafe conditions anymore, given that cars at the time had completely ineffective wipers.

The result? The windscreen wipers we use and love today. Cadillac took on Mary’s idea in 1922, making us all safer.

Marie Van Brittan Brown, inventor of home security systems

Marie Van Brittan Brown lived in Queens, and was frustrated at the lack of response from police and the high rates of crime in her area. She invented an audio and video system way back in 1966 which allowed you to call for help, speak through a microphone, and unlock doors. If you have a smart doorbell or a CCTV system, Marie’s foundational work made that possible.

Melitta Bentz, inventor of coffee filters

If you rely on coffee to function, you have to give a nod of appreciation to Melitta Bentz. Annoyed by the presence of coffee grounds in her drink, she repurposed blotting paper to create the world’s first coffee filter, and was awarded a patent for it in 1908.

Asima Chatterjee, inventor of malaria treatments

Asima Chatterjee was a trailblazer in many ways. She was the first woman to get a doctorate in science from an Indian university, and went on to study the creation of medicine. She managed to come up with crucial treatments for epilepsy and malaria, making her contribution incredibly important for many people.

‘Amazing Grace’ Grace Hopper, inventor of the first compiler

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper worked for the US Navy in computing, and her invention, the compiler, translated code into machine code, which paved the way for the creation of the world’s first programming languages. Essentially, if you’re reading this on a computer, Grace’s contributions had something to do with it.

Grace was considered so crucial to computing history that she earned a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016, to honour her contributions to computer science.

Shirley Ann Jackson, inventor of telecommunication technology

Shirley Ann Jackson is an incredible woman. She was the first Black woman to earn a doctorate from MIT, and from there, she worked on telecommunications technology. Her hard work paved the way for crucial technology like fibre optic cables, portable fax machines, caller ID, call waiting, touch tone telephones, and more.

If you’re enjoying super-fast fibre broadband right now, Shirley’s work made that possible.

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