Modern inventions made by women

Sophia Comas, Features Editor

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Computer Software

  • Dr. Grace Murray created COBOL, or Common Business-Oriented Language, in the 1950s. It was the first user-friendly computer software program and she later became the first woman to ever receive the Computer Science Man of the Year Award because of it.



  • Stephanie Kwolek invented Kevlar, a tough synthetic fiber she created through her research of chemical compounds at the DuPont Company. Kevlar was then used to make bullet-proof vests, which was later patented in 1966.


Stem Cell Isolation

  • Ann Tsukamoto is the co-patentee of the process that isolates the human stem cell. She received the patent in 1991 and her work has contributed to the study of blood systems in cancer patients that could potentially find a cure.


The APGAR Score

  • Anesthesiologist Dr. Virginia Apgar first started this series of tests on newborn babies in 1952. One minute and five minutes after birth, she would test to determine if they needed immediate care. After roughly ten years, the medical community made an acronym out of her name to remember the criteria babies are scored on: Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity and Respiration.



  • Elizabeth Magie created “Monopoly,” though she called it “The Landlord’s Game,” in an attempt to teach the community about Georgism, or the unfairness of land-grabbing. She sought to explain the disadvantages of renting and single land values on tax owners. She patented the board game in 1904 and self-published in 1906 until she sold it to the Parker Brothers, who later renamed it “Monopoly.”


The Fire Escape

  • Anna Connelly first created the fire escape with an outdoor staircase in 1897. Her invention later became part of the mandatory building safety code for buildings throughout the United States.



  • Gertrude Elion and coworker George Hitchings developed the first drugs for treating major diseases like leukemia, herpes and AIDS. Elio also discovered azathioprine, a drug that slows immune system activity in order for patients with weak immune systems to receive organ transplants.


The Dishwasher

  • Josephine Cochrane first patented the dishwasher in 1886. It combined high water pressure, a boiler, a wheel and wire racks to contain dishes.
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