The inventions and objects we still use today were created by women

The world of inventions has a large majority of male presence, from Marconi to Edison, from Fleming to Ford. However, only some people know that many of the inventions and objects we still use today were created by women. This is due to the “Matilda Effect” a phenomenon that attributes the recognition of women's achievements in the scientific, humanistic, and technological fields to men.

Coined in 1993, the term “Matilda Effect” was born by Matilda Joslyn Gage – suffragette, activist for Native American and women's rights - during various studies. She realized that since ancient times, many female inventors had been voluntarily excluded from the world of inventions for simply being a “woman”.

One of the first cases I want to present is Rosalind Franklin's. Franklin was a British scientist whose work contributed to the birth of DNA through X-rays. Her discovery was later attributed to her laboratory colleagues, Francis Crick and James Watson, for which they won the Nobel Prize.

What are women's inventions, and how have they changed our lives? Here is a small list of what the “pink genius and creativity” have developed throughout history.

In 1868, the American Margaret Knight invented an accessory for paper bag folding machines that allowed the production of square-bottom bags. This type of envelope, made of brown paper, was sturdier, more spacious, and could stand up. Knight subsequently invented a clothes clip in 1884 and the kitchen skewer in 1885. From 1880 to 1890, she worked on machines to produce shoes, thus becoming “the most famous inventor of the 19th century”.


The German Melitta Bentz  invented the paper coffee filter at the beginning of the 1900s. Previously, coffee was obtained using funnels or fabric sieves, which released a lot of material residue and gave off neither the taste nor the aroma of coffee. To get a residue-free drink, she took sheets of absorbent paper using a brass pot in which she had made holes. The paper coffee filter was patented in 1908 and is still one of today's most consumed objects.

Mary Anderson, an American cattle rancher and winemaker, is known for inventing the windshield wiper in 1905. The idea came when she was forced to take a taxi on a snowy day. The taxi driver often pulled over because he couldn't see that the road was drivable, and the taximeter continued to rise. Then, she started thinking about how always to have a clean windshield. She thus invented a lever inside the car that moved a rubber stick on the outside of the windshield. A flash of genius was initially viewed with distrust, but in 1916, it became standard equipment for American cars.

The toilet roll holder, designed in the 1980s, is just one of the many inventions of American inventor Marie Kenner. Among her creations were the walker with an attachable tray and a pocket for carrying objects, designed in 1976 - after her sister was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis - and the sanitary belt to hold sanitary pads in place, created in 1957.




The first wireless connection was created in the first half of the 1930s, thanks to the American actress and scientist Hedy Lamarr. This system of transmitting information on radio frequencies made it possible to control torpedoes and naval vessels remotely.

Mary Phelps Jacobs, aka Caresse Crosby, an American publisher and writer, invented the bra in 1910. Ready to go to the school dance, she realized that her corset was ruining the charm of her dress, and in an instant, she took laces, handkerchiefs, a needle, thread, and a pin and created the bra.

The dishwasher, one of the most praised inventions of women, was invented in 1886 by Josephine Cochrane. A master of home parties, tired of washing all the dirty dishes by hand, exclaimed at one of her dinners, “If no one has yet invented a dishwashing machine, I will do it myself!” The prototype of the dishwasher was born, a device that projects jets of water and soap onto the dishes via a hand-operated pump system.

Kevlar, a solid and elastic fiber that replaces tire rubber, was invented by Stephanie Kwolek in 1965. It was born from a study that predicted a possible oil shortage. A highly resistant product, it is used in many areas, from bulletproof jackets to canoe hulls.

The Apgar index, introduced in 1952 by the homonymous Virginia Apgar - an American pediatrician anesthetist - is a criterion for evaluating the health conditions of newborns immediately after birth. This index is still used today throughout the world. The points assessed were cardiac activity, respiratory activity, muscle tone, reactivity to stimulation, and color. This code was intended for doctors and nurses in the delivery room to establish whether a newborn needed recovery.


There are many examples of inventions created by women, and many others could be listed from ancient times to the present day. It matters little whether female or male minds made them. Inventions, as we have seen, arise from daily needs, the needs of society. Inventions have a simple purpose: to be valid.