5 Women You Might Not Know But Helped Change Your Life

Three Women Holding Each Other
Image: APG Graphics

With everything going on in the world right now, we thought it would be nice to celebrate 5 women in history that you might not know, but their stories are inspiring and their accomplishments have definitely changed your life.

As a female entrepreneur, we find inspiration in these stories. It's important to acknowledge the women who have been changing history when they may not have given enough credit.

Annette KellermanImage: Wikipedia Commons

Annette Kellerman

In 1905, Annette Kellerman was the first woman who attempted to swim the English Channel. Although she failed, she became a pioneer for Women's long-distance swimming.  She was also an advocate for health, fitness, and natural beauty throughout her life.

Annette's also the reason why women began wearing one-piece swimsuits rather than the pantaloons or bloomers that were popular during that era. In fact, in 1907, Annette was arrested in Boston for "indecency" due to wearing a one-piece. A history-changing, fateful judge ruling, granted validity of Annettes argument that the one-piece allowed for swimming without restriction (1). 

Maria Sibylla MerianImage Source: Wikipedia Commons

Maria Sibylla Merian

Maria was a naturalist and a talented artist. In 1705, Maria published detailed illustrations and documentation of Metamorphosis in butterflies and moths. She is considered to be among the most significant contributors to the field of entomology.

Because of Maria, we learned that butterflies and moths were not "beasts of the devil", but rather that they come from caterpillars (and not mud). (2)

Melitta Bentz
Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

Melitta Bentz

If you love your coffee, you can thank Melitta.  She was a German entrepreneur who made brewing coffee easier. In fact, she used blotting paper from her son's school exercise workbook, poked holes, and created the first coffee filter. Her company, The Melitta Group, is still family-owned and operated today. Thank you, Melitta! (3)

Sarah Breedlove

Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

Sarah Breedlove / Madam CJ Walker

Born as the first in her family after the Emancipation Proclamation, she was orphaned by 7, and widowed with a daughter by 20. She had been trying to formulate a hair product that addressed dandruff and other scalp issues. It was when she worked for a pharmacist and learned the basics of chemistry where she perfected her ointment and began selling her products successfully.

Sarah was an entrepreneur and philanthropist, more famously known as Madam CJ Walker, and became the first 
female self-made millionaire in the United States. So inspiring! (4)

Nettie Stevens

Image Source: Wikipedia Commons

Nettie Stevens

Nettie was the Geneticist who discovered what sex chromosomes were by studying mealworms.  She had worked many odd jobs, and during that era, it was common for women to marry and settle. Nettie wanted to become a scientist, so in 1896, she was 35 years old and enrolled at Stanford, eventually receiving her Ph.D. at the age of 41. 

She spent the last 11 years of her life studying genetics, making it the most productive years of her career. She left us too soon at the age of 50 due to breast cancer. It just goes to show you that it's never too late to follow your dreams! (5)

 

Sources:

(1): https://www.boston.com/news/history/2015/07/02/this-womans-one-piece-bathing-suit-got-her-arrested-in-1907

(2):http://www.sibyllamerian.com/home.html

(3): http://www.awomansbridge.org/women-culture--history/melitta-bentz-coffee-filter-inventor-and-entrepreneur

(4): https://www.britannica.com/biography/Madam-C-J-Walker

(5): https://www.nature.com/scitable/topicpage/nettie-stevens-a-discoverer-of-sex-chromosomes-6580266/

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