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10 things you didn't know were invented by women

When you think of great inventors, who springs to mind? Thomas Edison? Nikola Tesla? Alexander Graham Bell? It's true that a lot of iconic inventions from history were patented by men - and it's not surprising, given that their female counterparts were usually ousted or discouraged from pursuing anything within the STEM industry.

Despite the stigma, however, some women persisted with their goals - and we still benefit from their inventions today. Here's a list of just ten creations and innovations by female inventors that have shaped the way we live in the modern world.

1. Computer Software

Dr. Grace Murray Hopper, sometimes referred to as 'Amazing Grace', was a computer scientist and rear admiral in the US Navy. Her pioneering computer programming work led to the development of COBOL, a programming language that is still in use today.

close up of a laptop Credit: Getty

2. Kevlar

In 1965, chemist Stephanie Kwolek invented a lightweight fibre that was stronger than steel. Kevlar was originally meant to be used in car tyres, but now it's found in everything from bulletproof vests to cut-resistant gloves. "I knew that I had made a discovery," Kwolek once said in an interview. "I didn't shout 'Eureka,' but I was very excited". And so she should have been - her invention has saved millions of lives.

kevlar helmet female soldier Credit: Getty

3. Monopoly

This invention is usually credited to Charles Darrow, but it was Elizabeth Magie who patented 'The Landlord's Game', as it was originally called, in 1904. Darrow later bought the patent to the game and sold it to the Parker Brothers, and it's been ruining Christmas ever since.

monopoly board close up Credit: Getty

4. The Dishwasher

Probably one of the most useful household appliances ever made, the dishwasher was invented by Josephine Cochrane in 1887. She was always ambitious, but became motivated to develop the project after her husband died and left her in a ton of debt.

woman using a dishwasher Credit: Getty

5. Caller ID

As well as making discoveries that would eventually lead to the invention of he portable fax, fibre optic cables and solar cells, Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson is the woman behind caller ID and call waiting. She was also the first African American woman to earn a PhD from MIT.

woman on the phone Credit: Getty

6. Windscreen Wipers

An invention that most drivers probably take for granted, windscreen wipers were invented by Mary Anderson all the way back in 1903. At first, car companies believed the wipers would be distracting, so they weren't fitted on vehicles until much later - meaning Anderson never profited from her work.

view through the windshield of a car Credit: Getty

7. Stem Cell Isolation

Moving away from more domestic inventions, stem cell isolation was patented by Ann Tsukamoto in 1991. Since then, the scientist's work has been an invaluable help in understanding cancer, and could hopefully one day lead to a cure for the disease.

scientist carrying petri dishes Credit: Getty

8. The Paper Bag

One of the most ubiquitous inventions ever made, the paper bag was revolutionised by Margaret Knight in 1868. Before they were produced by her machine, paper bags looked more like envelopes, and didn't have the flat bottoms they do today.

women with paper bags on their heads Credit: Getty

9. The Circular Saw

This is something which is almost certainly seen as a very masculine device, but it was actually designed by Tabitha Babbitt, who attached one to her spinning wheel in 1813. Her patent was never approved - even though the device was so useful that it's still around today.

Circular saw Credit: Getty

10. Retractable Dog Leash

If you've ever used one of these to walk your pup, you have Mary A. Delaney to thank. She patented the device over a hundred years ago in 1908, and dogs have been able to roam more freely ever since.

French bulldogs smiling at camera Credit: Getty

Obviously this is just a tiny snapshot of all the things women have created over the years - but it just goes to show that ladies have been making their mark on history for a long time, even if nobody noticed.