Who are the overlooked women in history?

This article contains overlooked women who has made great changes to the world. Although there are many, here are some of the notable women who has been forgotten.

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This article contains overlooked women who has made great changes to the world. Although there are many, here are some of the notable women who has been forgotten.   

University of al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco, is the oldest continually operating university in the world," according to Manchester University Press and we have Fatima al-Firhi (800-880) to thank for it. She was originally from Tunisia and migrated with her family to Morocco in the early 9th century. Because her family was wealthy, she inherited a large fortune when her father died and used that money to find a mosque and an educational institution, one that still stands and functions today. She basically invented the modern concept of accessible higher education. 

Christine de Pizan (1364-1430) was an author, poet, moralist, and political thinker in medieval France. Born in Italy, she moved to France as a child and, in 1379, was appointed to the court of Charles V as the king's astrologer. She was hugely prolific; her career began as a writer of love poems, but then she moved on to bestselling books and great works of fiction. In her work, she often championed women's voices and criticized and satirized misogyny, which was revolutionary at the time. Her works were often translated into other languages during that time and after her death. Everyone reads Chaucer in high school, but Christine de Pizan, whos work was published by the same man, William Caxton, doesn't see the light of day in most mainstream classrooms.

Often called “The Most Beautiful Woman in Film,” Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000) was more than what met the eye. While Lamarr’s screen presence made her one of the most popular actresses of her day, she was also an inventor with a sharp mind. Along with avant-garde composer George Anthiel, Lamarr developed a new method of “frequency hopping,” a technique for disguising radio transmissions by making the signal jump between different channels in a prearranged pattern. Their “Secret Communication System” was created to combat Nazis during World War II, but the U.S. Navy ignored their findings. It wasn’t until years later that other inventor realized how ground-breaking the work was. If you use a smartphone today, you can thank Lamarr—her communication system was a precursor to wireless technologies including Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Rosalind Franklin (1920-1958) knew she wanted to be a scientist at the age of 15. Enrolling in college, despite her father’s protests, she eventually received her doctorate in chemistry. She spent three years studying X-ray techniques, returning to England to lead a research team to study the structure of DNA–all at a time when women weren’t even allowed to eat in her college’s cafeteria. Heading up another DNA research team was Maurice Wilkins, who ultimately betrayed Franklin when he showed scientists James Watson and Francis Crick Franklin’s ground-breaking X-ray image of DNA, known as Photo 51. Photo 51 enabled Watson, Crick and Wilkins to determine the structure of DNA. Franklin went on to study the tobacco mosaic virus and polio, creating the foundation of modern virology, before passing away in 1958 at the age of 38. Watson, Crick and Wilkins would win the Nobel Prize in 1962. Franklin’s work was barely mentioned, despite her undeniable contribution 

Born in Liu Ho, China in 1912, Chien-Shiung Wu (1912-1997) was recruited to Columbia University as part of the Manhattan Project. Working as senior scientist on the atom bomb in 1943, she conducted research on radiation detection and uranium enrichment. In the mid-1950s, Wu was approached by two theoretical physicists, Tsung-Dao Lee and Chen Ning Yang. They wanted help disproving the law of conservation of parity (Which stated that two mirrored physical systems, such as atoms, behave in identical ways and do not differentiate between left and right). Using the chemical isotope cobalt-60, Wu showed that the laws of nature were not always symmetrical, disproving the law that had been accepted for more than 30 years. Despite Wu's key contribution to the finding, only Yang and Lee received the Nobel Prize in 1957 for the discovery. 




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