30 years after a woman named Elizabeth Magie created the game Monopoly, Charles Darrow took the credit and made millions off the game when he sold it to Parker Brothers.
We are very familiar with this tale through history: A man taking credit for a woman’s idea.
Women’s work has been erased from the labour movements, civil rights movements, and many times again in science.
So, we are highlighting the remarkable women who were sidelined by men.
1. Rosalind Felix played a huge rule in the invention of double-helix in 1951. She and her student Raymond Gosling discovered that there were two forms of DNA in 1951, but the photo 51 they took was shown to scientists James Watson and Francis Crick without her permission, and they won Nobel Prize for it in 1962.
2. Margaret Knight was working at Columbia Paper Bag Company in 1868 when she got the idea to produce flat-bottomed bags by machine. She refined her machine and moved to Boston to work with two machinists on it.
A man named Charles Anan examined her machine, and when she went to patent it, the patent already belonged to Anan. She later sued him and won.
3. Alice Guy had over 100 films in her acting career in the 1900s before becoming the first female studio owner in 1910. She was reversing gender roles in her movies decades before anyone else thought about it, but her name was erased and her husband got all the credit for her visionary work in film.
He even opened a studio and convinced her to merge companies, but to let his name be at the forefront.
4. Elizabeth Magie, the secretary and stenographer was outspoken politically and lived a highly unusual life, because she didn’t get married by the age of 44 and she supported herself. She even designed a game called “Landlord’s Game” to protest big monopolists, but decades later, a man named Charles Darrow claimed that the game is his, and he sold it to Parker Brothers. The game is now known as Monopoly, and Darrow made millions of it.
5. Austrian physicist Lise Meitner was acting director of the Institute for Chemistry when Hitler came to power in 1933. She had to flee, but letters between her and chemist Otto Hahn show that they discovered nuclear fission together. Meitner was denied proper credit because she was Jewish and a refugee and Hahn later won the Nobel Prize for his work.
6. Scientist Nettie M. Stevens found in the 1900s that male sperm carried both X and Y chromosomes, while women only carried X chromosomes in their eggs.
Another scientist named Edmund Beecher Wilson came to the same conclusion, and he submitted his paper only 10 days before she did. He did include a footnote that he was aware of Stevens’ findings though.
7. Dr Chien-Shiung Wu joined the Manhattan Project during WW2, the secret project of the Army to develop the atomic bomb. She overthrew a law of symmetry in physics called the principle of conservation of parity along with two male colleagues, but when the men received the Nobel Prize in 1957, she was excluded from the award.
Singer and songwriter Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton recorded Hound Dog in 1952, and Elvis Presley later covered her song and it made him famous.
She persisted and achieved great success, and she was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1984.
9. Jocelyn Bell Burnell, as a graduate student at the University of Cambridge, helped Anthony Hewish and Martin Ryle construct a radio telescope to monitor quasars. It was her job to analyze the data from it.
When she noticed some anomalies, she called Hewish and the team systematically eliminated all possible sources of the radio pulses, until they were able to deduce that they were made by neutron stars, that were too small to form black holes.
Hewish and Ryle won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1974 for the discovery.
10. When Dr Martin Luther King, Jr gave the “I have a dream” speech, there was only one woman on the organizing committee – Anna Arnold Hedgeman. But according to Jennifer Scanlon, Bowdoin College professor, the civil rights leader was out of sight, hidden and concealed by the men around her.
Hedgeman asked her male colleagues to provide women with a speaking voice during the march, but the men did not listen to her.
The group of leaders who organized the March are referred to as the “Big Six”, but Hedgemen is not included in that group.