They were dismissed or downplayed and this happened because of the systemic sexism that existed and still continues to exist.
If we take a look at our history books, we may be misled into thinking that everything we know today was built entirely on the efforts and contributions of men alone. Women and their contributions were either appropriated by the men in their life or deliberately left out, as per Bustle. They were dismissed or downplayed and this happened because of the systemic sexism that existed and still continues to exist. Over time, there has been a lot of effort going into righting these wrongs. It is a continuous process of seeking out information and learning about women's contributions.
One Reddit user took to the Ask Reddit thread and posed the question: Who are some women that often get overlooked in history but had major contributions to society? Needless to say, there were unsurprisingly a lot of women not given due credit for their enormous contributions to humankind. Here is a non-exhaustive list of many brilliant women and what they gave us:
Bessie Coleman was the first African-American woman to earn a pilot’s license and the very first American of any race or gender to be directly awarded credentials to pilot an airplane license from the Federation Aeronitique Internationale in France. Coleman died after she fell from a plane before an air show and plunged to the ground, dying on impact. She was 34.
Marie Tharp changed geology forever by creating the first scientific map of the Atlantic Ocean floor. Her discovery was initially dismissed as "girl talk" but changed the scientific view toward the emerging theory of plate tectonics, as per Science News.
Augusta Ada Lovelace has been overlooked for her contributions to the invention of computers. But has now come to be known as the first computer programmer, according to the New Yorker. She is now recognized annually on October 15th to highlight the often-overlooked contributions of women to math and science.
Lockwood was the first woman to be admitted to the bar of the U.S. Supreme Court. She became a leader in the women's suffrage movement in the late nineteenth century. She led a movement that rejected dependency, for herself and for other women, and did not hesitate to confront the male establishment that kept women from voting and from professional advancement
Daughter of the father of communism, Karl Marx, she was herself a radical thinker. She was a staunch feminist and socialist. She believed child labor and sexual discrimination must end, not just for the sake of women and children's but because if women were paid less than male workers, then men's wages would always be undercut by cheaper female labor, or by children, according to The Guardian.
Nellie Bly was the pen name of Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman who was an American journalist, industrialist, inventor, and charity worker. She was best known for her trip around the world in 72 days and writing an explosive investigative journalism piece about the abuses at an insane asylum in 1887, reported The Washington Post.
Henrietta Lacks contributed to the study of cancer cells after she donated her cells here at Hopkins in 1951. The cells nicknamed "HeLa" cells, from the first two letters of her first and last names — are used to study the effects of toxins, drugs, hormones, and viruses on the growth of cancer cells without experimenting on humans, as per Hopkins Medicine.
Oram was the pioneering electronic composer, inventor of the Oramics Machine, and co‑founder of the highly influential BBC Radiophonic Workshop. As a trailblazer in electronic music, she helped shape the sounds, and songs, we listen to today.
Before Rosa Parks, there was Claudette Colvin, a Black woman who refused to move to the back of the bus and give up her seat to a White person. She is only briefly mentioned in discourse about the civil rights movement, most people don't know about the role Colvin played in the bus boycotts, reported NPR.
Katherine Johnson was called a “computer” and helped NASA put an astronaut into orbit around Earth, as per NASA. And then she helped put a man on the Moon. Johnson's contribution to NASA along with that of Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughan, all Black women, was adapted from the non-fiction book Hidden Figures to an Oscar award-winning movie in 2016.