The 2016 film Hidden Figures was notable for bringing international attention to Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson, three remarkable mathematicians who were integral to the early successes of NASA space launches.

The title carried a double meaning, as it referred not only to a mathematical term but also to the fact that these remarkable women's contributions to NASA had been grossly overlooked for far too long.

As their accomplishments were overshadowed by those of their white male colleagues.

Indeed, Johnson, Vaughn, and Jackson are far from the only women who made momentous contributions to society but still don't get the recognition they deserve.

Despite the considerable efforts of journalists and historians to earn them their rightful place in the spotlight.


A recent Redditor was curious to learn more about women who helped shape the world but who remain overlooked in modern society, leading them to ask:
"Who are some women that often get overlooked in history but had major contributions to society?"

Virginia Hall

"Virginia Hall has a building named after her at the CIA."

"She was an American woman from Baltimore who went to Europe in the 1930s, lost her leg in a shooting accident, then proceeded to become a leader in the French Resistance and master of disguise, all with a wooden leg."

"The book A Woman of No Importance is about her and came out last year."- Muchamuchacha42

Anna Connelly

"Anna Connelly invented the fire escape in 1887."

"That same year, Josephine Cochrane invented the dishwasher."- fergi20020

Carol Kaye

"Carol Kaye, the First Lady of bass playing."

"She played over 10,000 sessions, including albums from Frank Sinatra, Beach Boys, Stevie Wonder, and the Monkees."- Cerrida82

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha

"Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha."

"She is the Dean of Medicine at Hurley Children's Hospital in Flint, MI."

"She saw that children were having elevated lead levels (ELLs) outside the normal range."

"She contacted the Genesee Department of Health, who at first, dismissed her claim, then sent her obfuscated data to make it look like the ELLs were completely within normal trends."

"She grew frustrated at this, so she called a team of epidemiologists from VT, her alma mater, to find the source of the lead."

"Lo and behold, she found that the water in multiple zip codes was contaminated with lead."

"She informed the Genesee Department of Health Again, who brushed her off."

"She then said 'f*ck it' and held a major press conference where she announced on air that the water in Flint wasn't safe and to come to the hospital to get your child tested and to pick up supplies of water and liquid infant formula."

"If she saved thousands of children from the permanent effects of lead poisoning."- MadameBurner

Marie Tharp

"Marie Tharp."

"She created the first map of the ocean floor, which led to the discovery of tectonic plates, and the theory of continental drift."- PhantomKitten73

Inge Lehmann

"Inge Lehmann was a Danish seismologist."

"She discovered P' waves, waves that reflect off of the inner-core, confirming that the earth has a solid inner-core and a liquid outer-core."- Occams_l2azor

Dr. Georgeanna Seeger Jones

"Dr. Georgeanna Seeger Jones."

"Dr. Jones singlehandedly organized the field of Gynecological Endocrinology."

"While at John’s Hopkins with her husband, Dr. Howard Jones and Drs. Roberts and Steptoe, she devised the hypothesis of follicular hyper stimulation, which produced more than one egg per cycle."

"Her later discoveries led to increases in viability of In Vitro Fertilization."

"Per Wikipedia : 'As a resident at Johns Hopkins, she discovered that the pregnancy hormone hCG was manufactured by the placenta, not the pituitary gland as originally thought'."

"'This discovery led to the development of many of the early over-the-counter pregnancy test kits currently available'."

"On 1949, Jones made the first description of Luteal Phase Dysfunction and is credited to be the first in using progesterone to treat women with a history of miscarriages, thus allowing many of them to not only conceive, but to deliver healthy babies'."

"She also served as a Dean of the College of Pontifical Sciences, advising the Vatican of matters of Gynecology and Conception."

"Her husband always said 'She’s the smarter one'.”

"She was also a great friend."- Fyrepup

Dr. Virginia Apgar

"In 1952 Dr. Virginia Apgar developed a quick, easy five-point test that summarizes health of newborns, and determine those needing emergency assistance."

"The Apgar Score is now given to practically every newborn, and helped save countless young lives, and reduce infant mortality."- anthropology_nerd

Be it poor timing, ill-kept records, or blatant sexism, there are far too many female trailblazers who deserve far more recognition than they are given.

Thankfully, there are also passionate historians who will continue to work hard to make sure they all get their moment in the sun.

With all of us showing our endless appreciation.