9 Fascinating Facts About Women’s Contributions Throughout History


When it comes to history, the accomplishments and contributions of important men dominate most texts and courses. Many female leaders, heroes, and contributors have also made meaningful contributions throughout history.

Fortunately, March is Women’s History Month, so it’s the perfect time to become more familiar with the many achievements of strong women all over the globe. Start your journey with the following incredible facts.

There was actually a female pharaoh.

Serving as the fifth pharaoh of Ancient Egypt, Hatshepsut ruled during the 18th Dynasty. She took the throne as regent for her son, and her reign stretched over two decades. Historians believe that her rule was a favorable one, and today she is considered to have been one of the most powerful women in the ancient world.

Josephine Baker smuggled messages to French soldiers during WWII.

Baker, a well-known singer and performer, carefully concealed the hidden messages in clever ways, often using invisible ink to conceal them in her sheet music or simply hiding them inside her dress. Baker is also notable for being the first black female to star in a major motion picture.

We owe a lot of major inventions to women.

Just take Mary Anderson, for instance. In 1903, she invented the windshield wipers that would become standard equipment on all cars by 1916. Women also created useful inventions like disposable diapers, white-out, non-reflective glass, dishwashers, modern petroleum refining methods, and lots more.

Marie Curie won not one but two Nobel Prizes.

Awarded her first Nobel Prize for physics for spontaneous radiation, Marie Curie shared that distinction with her husband. She received her second Nobel award in chemistry, thanks to her extensive studies on radioactivity. Curie’s studies would eventually cost her life; she contracted a radiation-related blood disease from her research and died in 1934.

Women played a major role in the development of computer technology.

Many people tend to think that we owe computer technology solely to men, but many women changed technology for the better. For instance, a woman named Susan Kare developed much of the Apple Macintosh’s interface elements. Kare eventually left Apple in the 1980s, but she is still working in the field by improving product designs and helping to innovate new technologies.

Hedy Lamarr was so much more than just a pretty face.

In addition to being a successful movie actress in the 1940s, Lamarr developed a radio-controlled torpedo device. The device utilized frequency hopping as a way to prevent the jamming of torpedo signals. Unfortunately, her invention wasn’t utilized during WWII. However, the American government used her device to help with future conflicts and efforts.

The top two IQ scores ever recorded via standard testing belong to women.

For centuries, the prevailing thinking believed that women were inferior to men when it came to intelligence. The history of standardized IQ testing, on the other hand, changed the conversation. Both of the top two scores ever recorded belong to women. One of those women is the renowned author and columnist, Marilyn vos Savant. To this day, she is the Guinness World Record holder for “highest IQ.”

Queen Victoria ruled one of the world’s largest empires.

In fact, she ruled of one of the largest empires in all of history. At one point, she oversaw land on almost every continent. Under her rule, she controlled countries that included Australia, Canada, British Guiana, Egypt, India, and Kenya.

Nellie Bly traveled around the world in less than 80 days.

Actually, she completed her journey around the world in a mere 72 days – a remarkable feat, considering airplanes had not yet been invented. Bly established herself as an impressive investigative journalist, particularly with her expose on mental institutions. She had to fake mental illness in order to gain access to the facilities in question.

Of course, these are just a few of the many remarkable facts and figures associated with women throughout history.  Learn even more about history’s greatest women when you explore regional history and local interest books from Arcadia Publishing!