Even if you're a real history buff, chances are that you don't know all the ways in which brilliant women have revolutionized our society. From journalism to science to business, unsung heroines are often left out of history class, but some are finally getting more recognition for their achievements. Here are 21 pioneers who you need to know about.
1. Ada Lovelace
Despite having been born in 1815, long before the invention of the home computer, Ada Lovelace wrote early software. Having become interested in maths as a child, thanks to her mom’s insistence on a good education, Lovelace spent much of her adult life elbow-deep in mathematical problems. And in 1842, she wrote what would come to be considered the first-ever computer program.
The world’s first computer programmer
While translating an Italian paper involving a machine that could calculate enormous sums, Lovelace hit upon the idea that this analytical engine was capable of much more. To prove it, she then wrote the software for the first-ever computer program. Although the engine was never built, this 19th-century visionary has long been credited with recognizing the potential of computers long before anyone else.
2. Dorothy Levitt
With motoring still in its infancy at the turn of the 20th century, female drivers were few and far between. In 1905 Dorothy Levitt put women drivers on the map in spectacular style. But before becoming a world-record-holding car racer, she held an altogether different record. Setting the fastest speed on water, she took a speedboat up to a whopping 19.3 miles per hour in 1903. But that was nothing compared to her other accolades.
The “Fastest Girl On Earth”
Starting in 1905, Levitt set three world records in under two years. Setting the bar for the “longest drive by a lady driver,” she traveled over 400 hundred miles in two days. Then, she set the first-ever Ladies’ World Speed Record, driving at 79.75 mph. The following year, she smashed her own ceiling with a top speed of 90.88 mph. Unsurprisingly, she was dubbed the “Fastest Girl On Earth.”