THE MATILDA EFFECT: the misappropriating of women’s scientific achievements
The Matilda effect is a bias against acknowledging the achievements of those women scientists whose work is attributed to their male colleagues. This effect was first described by suffragist and abolitionist Matilda Joslyn Gage (1826–98) in her essay, “Woman as Inventor” (first published as a tract in 1870 and in the North American Review in 1883). The term “Matilda effect” was coined in 1993 by science historian Margaret W. Rossiter.
Rossiter provides several examples of this effect. Trotula (Trota of Salerno), a 12th-century Italian woman physician, wrote books which, after her death, were attributed to male authors. Nineteenth- and twentieth-century cases illustrating the Matilda effect include those of Nettie Stevens, Maria Skłodowska Curie, Lise Meitner, Marietta Blau, Rosalind Franklin, and Jocelyn Bell Burnell. CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE
and from Open Culture
The history of science, like most every history we learn, comes to us as a procession of great, almost exclusively white, men, unbroken but for the occasional token woman—well-deserving of her honors but seemingly anomalous nonetheless. “If you believe the history books,” notes the Timeline series The Matilda Effect
, “science is a guy thing. Discoveries are made by men, which spur further innovation by men, followed by acclaim and prizes for men. But too often, there is an unsung woman genius who deserves just as much credit” and who has been overshadowed by male colleagues who grabbed the glory. “The Matilda Effect”: How Pioneering Women Scientists Have Been Denied Recognition and Written Out of Science History
and from Wikipedia
The question whether (and if so, to what extent) Marić contributed to Einstein
‘s early work, and to the Annus Mirabilis Papers
in particular, is the subject of debate. Many professional historians of physics argue that she made no significant scientific contribution,
while others suggest that she was a supportive companion in science and may have helped him materially in his research. The couple’s first son, Hans Albert
, said that when his mother married Einstein, she gave up her scientific ambitions.
Henrietta Leavitt was an astronomer who opened the door to a dramatic enlargement in the size of the known universe. She found that a certain type of star, the Cepheid variable, pulses at a rate that’s related to its brightness. A Cepheid variable star’s pulse rate reveals the star’s true, fundamental brightness. The amount by which the star’s brightness is dimmed by distance allows the star’s distance from the earth to be calculated.
Although better known for her Silver Screen exploits, Austrian actress Hedy Lamarr (born Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler) also became a pioneer in the field of wireless communications following her emigration to the United States. The international beauty icon, along with co-inventor George Anthiel, developed a “Secret Communications System” to help combat the Nazis in World War II. By manipulating radio frequencies at irregular intervals between transmission and reception, the invention formed an unbreakable code to prevent classified messages from being intercepted by enemy personnel.
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