6 Inventions by Women that Helped Shape the World

1. The First Computer Program

Ada Lovelace wrote instructions for the first computer program in the mid-1800s.

Ada Lovelace, (also Lord Byron’s daughter), was encouraged by her mother, who was a scientist, from a very early age to pursue mathematics. Ada worked with Charles Babbage at the University of London on his plans for an “analytic engine” and is considered to have written instructions for the first computer program in the mid-1800s.


2. Computer software – COBOL

Dr. Grace Murray Hopper, who was a rear admiral in the U.S. Navy, invented the first software program and also coined the word ‘bug’.

A rear admiral in the U.S. navy and also a computer scientist, it was Dr. Grace Murray Hopper who invented COBOL, “the first user-friendly business computer software program”. And just in case you were wondering how the word “bug” came to be used to describe a glitch in the computer system, it was she who coined it after finding out that an actual moth was causing trouble in her computer.


3. Kevlar

Kevlar, a very strong fibre, used in bullet proof jackets was developed by Stephanie Klowlek.

For those who do not know what Kevlar is, it is safe to say it is the boss behind most inventions. Lightweight and highly tensile, Kevlar is a fibre which is five times stronger than steel and has more than 200 other uses. The next time your bullet proof jacket takes a bullet for you, just know that Stephanie Klowlek saved you.


4. Wireless Transmission Technology

Hedy Lamarr co-invented a system of wireless communication which was used during WWII.

Hedy Lamarr, the Austrian actress, famous for her acting and beauty (oh-those-high-cheekbones), is often forgotten for co-inventing a system of wireless communication called “spread spectrum” to fight the Nazis during World War II. The radio technology, vital at the time, was also the foundation for modern WiFi and mobile phones.



Marie Van Brittan Brown’s inventions are the basis for modern day CCTV systems.

In New York City, when Marie Van Brittan Brown observed that police were slow to respond to calls for help at times, she took matters into her own hands and devised the system for CCTV (Closed-Circuit Television) security to help people ensure their security. Her inventions are the basis for modern day CCTV systems used at home/public places.


6. Windshield Wipers

Anyone who’s ever driven in a rain or snow storm can attest to the dire importance of windshield wipers.  Inventor Mary Anderson received a patent for her car-window cleaning device in 1903.

Anderson’s invention came about during a trip to New York City when the Alabama-born inventor noticed that streetcar drivers had to open the windows of their cars when it rained in order to see. As a solution, Anderson invented a swinging arm device with a rubber blade that was operated by the driver from within the vehicle using a lever.

mary anderson

About MKCL
Maharashtra Knowledge Corporation Limited (MKCL) is a Public Limited Company to create new paradigm in education and development through universalization and integration of Information Technology in teaching, learning and educational management processes in particular and socio-economic transformative processes in general.

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