It is possible that you use a filter coffee maker every morning without knowing that it is an invention by Amalie Auguste Melitta Bentz. It’s this type of ignorance that TikTok and Instagram content creator Melissa Amneris seeks to eliminate. She recently experimented with a day without feminine inventions to show the extent to which our daily lives are permeated by these innovations.
@melissa.amneris What if we lived without women’s inventions? Many forgotten and censored female geniuses… (non-exhaustive list) Thanks to @Culturedoree (Britania) for the idea #feminism #effectmatilda #womansrights #femmesoftiktok ♬ Cancan – Ace of Aces
Besides Bentz, other women have changed our world. Hedy Lamarr created the technology behind Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, and Ada Lovelace designed the first computer program. Without them, we would not have the comforts that we take for granted today.
Rossiter vs. “Oppenheimer”
The Mathilda theory, developed by Margaret Rossiter, explains why these women are often forgotten. According to the latter, women’s contribution to science is minimized or regularly attributed to men.
The film “Oppenheimer” illustrates this phenomenon well by omitting crucial women like Jean Tatlock from its story. An accomplished psychiatrist, she is reduced to the caricature of an eccentric and tormented woman. Katy Oppenheimer has enjoyed her own academic achievements as a biologist and botanist. In Christopher Nolan’s feature film she is depicted as a wife and a depressive and alcoholic figure. And finally, Lise Meitner, completely absent from this work, discovered nuclear fission. Without him, there would be no Manhattan Project. Her absence is particularly evident because she refused to participate in the project due to her pacifist beliefs.
The path to recognition
Therefore, it is time to rehabilitate this scientific heritage and these pioneering women and finally give them the recognition they deserve.
To do this, it is first essential to dismantle the cultural and systemic barriers that deter young women from pursuing scientific careers. Although recent data shows that girls often outperform boys in science subjects as early as high school, they remain underrepresented in science-focused college courses.