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Discoveries Made by Women: Important Contributions to the Global Development Essay

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Updated: Jul 18th, 2021

The discoveries made by women have helped to improve a range of processes within numerous domains, as well as made significant progress in general. Therefore, it is critical to give credit where it is due and explore the essential discoveries and breakthroughs made by women (Ignotofsky, 2016; Lutter, 2015). Despite the lack of gender equality in a range of states, women have played an important role in propelling the development of science and industries across the globe.

To locate the information concerning innovative solutions and breakthroughs made by women, the following search words were used: “women inventions discoveries.” During the search process, the article titled “32 Amazing Women Inventors” was located. In the article, Sarah Burns and John Harrington (2018) shed light on some of the crucial achievements and discoveries in science and technology made by women.

The importance of the topic is quite high due to the problems associated with gender relationships in modern society (Wang & Degol, 2017). One might argue that it is the discovery and not its author that matters, yet the systemic gender disparities have made it important to recognize the contributions made to the global development by women (Eddy & Brownell, 2016). Therefore, discussing the article will add to the promotion of gender equality and equity in modern society.

As the title suggests, the article provides a description of 32 women who have advanced science and global development. Although the authors of the report focus primarily on the residents of the United States, the article features some diversity, with Olga D. González-Sanabria (a Puerto-Rico resident and the inventor of Long-life nickel-hydrogen batteries), Rachel Zimmerman (an Ontario citizen and the creator of the blissymbol printer), and several other non-American women being listed in it.

When evaluating the reception of the inventions and discoveries made by the women listed in the article, however, one should address certain ambiguities. On the one hand, Burns and Harrington (2018) rightfully acknowledge the importance of the contributions made by these female researchers and inventors, thus creating the impression that the innovations were received with much gratitude and great publicity. On the other hand, there are indications in the report that the specified inventions could have enjoyed warmer reception.

For instance, when describing the impact that Patricia Bath’s invention has left in ophthalmology, Burns and Harrington (2018) mention that Bath was referred to as “one of the top 100 living geniuses” (para. 5) in 2007 (see Appendix A). However, Bath made her breakthrough much earlier, which makes one question why it took so long to recognize her significance in healthcare.

The issue of recognition and fame is linked not only to the gender issue but also to the racial disparities that could be observed almost globally several decades ago. Specifically, the situation with the lack of attention to Bath’s achievements could be explained by racial profiling that took place in the U.S. at the time (Reich, 2017). Therefore, when considering the reasons for a range of female scientists and innovators of the previous era to remain in the shadow, one will need to embrace not only gender-related but also sociocultural issues and acknowledge the presence of cultural disparities in the global society.

The situation seems to have changed over the past few decades, with female researchers receiving more recognition than they used to in the past. Compared to Bath, Zimmerman’s invention received acclaim shortly after she had introduced it to the context of space research (see Appendix B). Thus, it can be assumed that there has been a propensity toward addressing the issue of gender in the enhancement of progress and the introduction of groundbreaking discoveries into the scientific world (Su & Rounds, 2015). Nevertheless, the current environment of research and science could use greater diversity. As a result, innovative ideas and original approaches to problem-solving could emerge.

Describing the key discoveries and innovations introduced to global science, Burns and Harrington (2018) have written a unique article that incorporates innovations from a variety of fields and seems rather fragmented at first. However, on closer inspection, the elements of the report are linked intrinsically since they all address the issue of social restrictions associated with gender and the opportunities for overcoming these barriers. The article is an inspiring manifest of what women can accomplish when challenging the social perception of their gender and following their aspirations.

Although the problem of gender equality and equity remains a concern for a range of states, women from all over the world have managed to contribute to global progress. The article by Burns and Harrington (2018) exemplifies that women have made and continue to make a difference in a wide variety of scientific domains, causing a range of positive changes and creating the platform for exploring new areas. For instance, the discoveries and inventions made by Bath and Zimmerman are prime examples of how the existing areas of healthcare and science can be modernized. Encouraging change, women across the globe have been striving to introduce innovations into science, spurring progress and inspiring their successors.

Appendix A (Burns & Harrington, 2018)

Patricia Bath

Appendix B (Burns & Harrington, 2018)

Rachel Zimmerman

References

Burns, S., & Harrington, J. (2018). 32 amazing women inventors. Web.

Eddy, S. L., & Brownell, S. E. (2016). Beneath the numbers: A review of gender disparities in undergraduate education across science, technology, engineering, and math disciplines. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 12(2), 1-20. Web.

Ignotofsky, R. (2016). Women in science: 50 fearless pioneers who changed the world. New York, NY: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale.

Lutter, M. (2015). Do women suffer from network closure? The moderating effect of social capital on gender inequality in a project-based labor market, 1929 to 2010. American Sociological Review, 80(2), 329-358. Web.

Reich, M. (2017). Racial inequality: A political-economic analysis. Princeton, NJ: Princeton Legacy Library.

Su, R., & Rounds, J. (2015). All STEM fields are not created equal: People and things interests explain gender disparities across STEM fields. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 189. Web.

Wang, M. T., & Degol, J. L. (2017). Gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM): Current knowledge, implications for practice, policy, and future directions. Educational Psychology Review, 29(1), 119-140. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2021. "Discoveries Made by Women: Important Contributions to the Global Development." July 18, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/discoveries-made-by-women-important-contributions-to-the-global-development/.

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IvyPanda. (2021) 'Discoveries Made by Women: Important Contributions to the Global Development'. 18 July.

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