5 Inventions by Black Women

5 Inventions by Black Women

Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner - Menstrual Sanitary Belt

Can you believe that it wasn’t until 1956 absorbent and disposable sanitary napkins were invented? Kenner invented the first menstruation product that was moisture proof and effective...the sanitary belt. Kenner entrepreneurship didn’t stop at menstrual products, rather she continued coming up with product after product, some including a toilet tissue holder, as well as a back washer that helped clean those hard to reach places.  


Dr. Gladys West - GPS

Do you know how to get from one place to another? Yeah, neither do I. Do I know how to work my GPS? Yes! We all have Dr. Gladys West to thank for that. Dr. West is a mathematician that is most well known for her groundbreaking contributions to the mathematical modeling of Earth. Dr. West was able to use her discoveries to eventually take a lead role in creating the Global Positioning System (GPS). 

Lisa Gelobter - GIF

If you enjoy expressing thoughts and emotions through video images or gifs, well, we have to credit Lisa Gelobter. Lisa is a computer science guru and founder and CEO of tEquitable. Lisa’s discoveries and contributions allow us to send the perfect gifs on any occasion, whether that might be providing a virtual hug, or lightening the mood in tense text conversations. Our favorite group chats wouldn’t be the same without gifs. Also, as a women in STEM, Lisa has worked to create organizations like tEquitable that companies offer to employees as a safe and confidential space for to address issues of bias, discrimination and harassment, encouraging workplaces to become  more inclusive. A gif can express a thousand words and the work Lisa does empowering women and people of color allows even more individuals’ voices to be amplified and heard.

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson - Caller I.D. & Call Waiting

Dr. Shirly Ann Jackson is a theoretical physicist that has a B.S. in Physics and a Ph.D. in Theoretical Elementary Particle Physics, from MIT. She is the first African American woman to earn a doctorate at MIT, and has been awarded 53 honorary doctorate degrees. Dr. Jackson is most well known for her invention of the technology that has created Caller I.D and Call Waiting. Can you imagine picking up the phone and not being able to see who’s calling you? Let’s face it Dr. Jackson’s invention has saved us all from some unfortunate phone calls.

Dr. Patricia Bath - Laser Cataract Surgery 

Growing older is a part of life, and as we age our eyes start changing as well. By 65 years old 90% of people develop cataracts, which often leads to blurry vision. Thanks to Dr. Patricia Bath’s groundbreaking discoveries people can continue to see the world clearly. In 1986, Dr. Bath invented laser cataract surgery, technically known as laserphaco, and was the first African American female doctor to receive a medical patent. She is one of the country's first professors of optometry surgery at UCLA. She not only created life changing technology, but also had a passion for educating others- sharing our skills to better others is something we all should strive for. 


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