In recognition of International Women’s Day next Monday, I’ve been thinking about how I can recognize and celebrate the achievements of some amazing women who have made an impact on our lives.
As I say each year, it would be fantastic not to have to have a day dedicated to women that in turn sparks the flurry of conversations to encourage gender equality, challenge gender bias and encourage further action to change what is unbalanced in our society. And it remains very unbalanced with little progress made each year.
However, I am a firm believer that for change to happen it is the responsibility of us all to challenge and lead the change that we want to see in this space. We all have influence within our own spheres. That said, through my women’s leadership network and my mentoring I am committed to supporting and championing women.
I am also grateful to my amazing circle of influence of women (and men) who support and champion me. Without them, I wouldn’t be who I am today.
- I wanted to celebrate these six incredible women below, who created history by inventing the following things that have made our lives much easier, safer, sustainable and enjoyable.
Beer – The first batch of beer brewers were women over 7,000 years ago. We don’t know the exact names but we know they were women. Cheers to that!
- Windscreen Writers – Mary Anderson, American Real Estate Developer and viticulturist, came up with the windscreen wipers controlled from inside the car when she thought there must be a better way than people having to lean out of their cars to manually wipe the windshield when it rained or got dirty.
- Automatic Dishwasher – Josephine Cochrane, American inventor who designed the first commercially successful automatic dishwasher in the shed behind her home.
- Solar Power – Maria Telkes, Hungarian-born American physical chemist and biophysicist earning the nickname “the Sun Queen”.
- Caller ID – Shirley Ann Jackson, American physicist and the first African-American women to have earned a Doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology gave us the power to decide whether we would answer the phone or not!
- First Computer Program – Ada Lovelace, English mathematician and writer published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a computer.
You may or may not have known that these things were created by women. There are many more stories like these and there are so many local stories too. For these to have been achieved, people needed to listen and learn and embrace the ideas these women had. Doing this changed history. I feel if we did more of this, if we listened and embraced the genius that we all bring to the table in our unique ways the business world and our society would be a much better place. We can change the course of history too.