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Nine in Ten Brits have NEVER heard of these female inventors despite using their creations every day

Women are Choosing STEM Careers

Research by OKdo shows the nation is very familiar with inventors like Edison and Bell, but still largely in the dark about women who brought equally important creations into the world

·The most well-known inventors are all male: Thomas Edison is the most famous overall (60%), followed by Alexander Graham Bell (59%) and Benjamin Franklin (53%)

·Ada Lovelace is the female inventor Brits are the most familiar with, however over four in five (84%) have never heard of her before despite her enormous contribution to the field of technology.

·Just one in 25 (4%) Brits have heard of Josephine Cochran, who invented the dishwasher.

·Just one in 50 (2%) know about Florence Parpart, the inventor of the modern refrigerator.

·Central heating and wireless transmission technology are amongst some other everyday items invented by women.

The dishwasher, central heating and wireless transmission technology are only a few of the great inventions used by most of us every day, that were brought into the world by women. But how many are familiar with the brilliant minds behind them?

Research by global technology company OKdo conducted in celebration of Women’s History Month has revealed that the inventors Brits are most familiar with all happen to be men, while their female counterparts are still largely in the shadows.

The data has shown Thomas Edison, famous for his development of the first long-lasting lightbulb in the 1870s, is the most well-known inventor overall, with over three in five (60%) claiming to be familiar with his work.

Following closely are Alexander Graham Bell, who patented the first telephone in 1876 and is known by just under two thirds (59%) of the nation, and Benjamin Franklin who was the founding father of the United States and is also famous for his experiments with electricity – he was recognized by over half (53%) of Brits.

On the other hand, the great minds Brits know the least about are almost all women. Only French inventor Louis LePrince, who created the 16-lens camera in 1886, was less well-known.
In fact, just one in 25 UK adults (4%) has heard of Josephine Cochran, who invented the first dishwasher that used water pressure to clean crockery in 1872. Furthermore, just one in 50 (2%) knows about Florence Parpart, the inventor of the modern electric refrigerator.

How many Brits have heard of these inventors?

1.Thomas Edison (M) (60%) 

2.Alexander Graham Bell (M) (59%) 

3.Benjamin Franklin (M) (53%) 

4.Nikola Tesla (M) (43%) 

5.Louis Braille (M) (38%) 

6.Guglielmo Marconi (M) (28%) 

7.Ada Lovelace (F) (16%) 

8.Hedy Lamarr (F) (13%) 

9.Grace Hopper (F) (5%) 

10.Alice Parker and Josephine Cochran (F) (4%) 

11.Louis LePrince (M) (3%) 

12.Mary Anderson, Eleanor Raymond and Marie Van Britten Brown (F) (3%) 

13.Maria Telkes and Florence Parpart (F) (2%)

The most famous among the list of female inventors is Ada Lovelace, who is thought to have developed the theory behind the first computer algorithm in around 1843. However, while she may be the best-known female inventor, just 16% claim to be familiar with her work, meaning over four in five (84%) have never heard of her before despite her enormous contribution to the field of technology.

Furthermore, nine in ten people have never heard of Grace Hopper, who invented a compiler that could translate written language into computer code, paving the way to modern computer software in the 1950s. And nine out of ten have also never heard of Alice Parker, whose came up with the revolutionary design for gas central heating for the home in 1919.

Ten revolutionary inventions you might not know were developed by women

1.Computer algorithm: Ada Lovelace, 1843    

2.Computer software: Grace Hopper, 1950s   

3.Dishwasher: Josephine Cochran, 1872   

4.Car heater: Margaret A. Wilcox, 1893  

5.Electric refrigerator: Florence Parpart, 1914  

6.Gas central heating: Alice Parker, 1919 

7.Wireless transmission technology (Wi-fi): Hedy Lamarr, 1941 

8.Windshield wiper: Mary Anderson, 1903 

9.CCTV: Marie Von Britten Brown, 1966

10.House solar heating: Maria Telkes and Eleanor Raymond, 1948

The research demonstrates a need for further education on the history of female inventors, and recent Government data has shown there’s still much to be done to inspire more female creators in modern day, too. 

According to analysis by the Intellectual Property Office, the proportion of female inventors worldwide has almost doubled in recent years, growing from 6.8% to 12.7% between 1988 and 2017. However, this still means nearly nine in ten inventors worldwide are men.

In the years between 1980 and 2000, the same Government report shows patent applications that included a female inventor increased from 8% to 13%. However, again this still means just one in seven researchers applying for a new invention patent are women. 

Within the UK, Northern Ireland has the ‘highest’ percentage of female inventors at 11%. In Scotland and England this falls to 9%, while in Wales it only stands at about 8%.

Nicki Young, President of OKdo, said: “Encouraging more young minds to think about solutions that have a positive impact through education is at the heart of our mission. We believe representation matters when it comes to pursuing any career or field of study, and this is particularly true for young women who want to get involved in STEM and become tomorrow’s top engineers and scientists and bring amazing advancements to society. Greater diversity enables a more rounded perspective of future innovations across all industries and that starts with investments at grass roots today.

We all have a responsibility to do more to showcase role model women who have made a difference, then and now, to inspire the next generation. This is why, in celebration of Women’s History Month, we wanted to shine a light on the great women who brought huge contributions to our society but are often not getting enough credit for it.”

Mollie Gatens, SEO and Digital Experience Manager at OKdo added:While historically discoveries and inventions brought into the world by women have not been in the spotlight as much as men’s, we’re slowly but surely seeing a change nowadays.
We believe it’s important to celebrate and recognise the amazing advancements made by female inventors in the past as we’re hoping this will inspire this generation of girls to read up on the great contributions that women like them have made, and maybe want to get involved too.
I believe everyone deserves to reach the position they are capable of through competency and learning, no matter what gender, beliefs or ethnicity. I would encourage parents and young people to engage early in STEM subjects, as they are the backbone to every advancement we make.

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