Women Discoverers

We had a lively, interesting evening yesterday. We had a variety of interpretations between us and a good-size audience to appreciate the contributions.

We were introduced to some of a list of 30 women pioneers who changed the world. Then 6 of us presented our choices of examples.

Alice Guy-Blaché – the first woman director of films, who made over a thousand films and pioneered all sorts of film-making techniques, then was mostly forgotten in the 1920s with the advent of the male-dominated Hollywood studio system. There is now a DVD of 60 or more of her previously forgotten films including ’The Life of Christ’. Clips from her films were charming. Alice pre-dated D. W. Griffiths who is labelled to as the ‘Father of Film’. 

Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir – an Icelandic explorer born in 985 who travelled to America 500 years before Columbus. The first expedition had 5 women and 60 men plus livestock. She was Christian and was the first European woman to give birth in America. An observation came up that pagan women who were with her were more equal to men, with Christian women more submissive – an interesting one!

Ada Lovelace – known as the first computer programmer for her collaborative work on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine and thought by some to be the first to recognise that the machine had applications beyond pure calculations, which led to the generalised computers we know today. Daughter of Lord Byron. Look out for her image in passports since Nov 2015. Was she used by Babbage for PR?..

Mary Anning – her portrayal by Kate Winslet in the film ‘Ammonite’ introduces a lesbian affair which seems unnecessarily sensationalised.

Regina Jones and Libby Lane – 1st Rabbi and 1st CofE Bishop. Why is Catholic faith nowhere in the race?

Heddy Lamar – film star, but also inventor and pioneer of what would become WiFi. In 1940 she patented ‘frequency-hopping’ on a communications system to track torpedoes, which was never used until the Cuban crisis, after the patent had run out. She also invented a fluorescent dog collar and a revolving chair for the shower. She had 6 marriages!

There was plenty to discuss about the recognition of women.