Give Women The Credit They Deserve in History and Science


T Lopez, Opinion Editor

Once upon a wartime, Austrian-American actress, Hedy Lamarr, decided she couldn’t sit and do nothing while the world was burning due to World War II. After meeting composer George Antheil at a dinner party, they decided to start working on a way to contribute to the war effort. 

Despite popular belief at the time that Lamarr was just a pretty face with a knack for acting, she was also a genius. Lamarr and Antheil created a communication system to guide torpedoes to their targets in war. Their system used “frequency hopping” amongst radio waves, with both transmitter and receiver hopping to new frequencies together. This prevented the interception of the radio waves, which allowed the torpedo to find its intended target. 

Pretty cool, right? Unfortunately, the Navy rejected the use of their new system. The patent eventually expired and Lamarr didn’t receive a single penny from it. 

(I know this is starting to sound like a less fun BrainPop lesson, but I have a point, bear with me.) 

This system that Lamarr created is actually the basis for the things we’ve become dependent on—WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS. That’s right. Hedy Lamarr is the “mother of WiFi.” Lamarr is the “mother of Wifi,” yet men who built off of the foundation she created appear before her in Google searches. Why is this such a consistent issue for women? 

The words of my ninth-grade biology teacher still ring in my ears. I still remember how she explained that the person who discovered the double helix in DNA was actually a woman. The men credited in the book, James Watson and Francis Crick, actually took her credit. Even now in 2022, Rosalind Franklin still doesn’t have her credit.

Imagine you discover something that can change the way we see the world or invent something revolutionary, yet you don’t get any credit for it because you’re a woman. The worst part is you did all the work, yet people will only listen to it and use it because a man stole it. What should’ve been your moment to present something that can shake the world gets taken away by a man with a superiority complex. 

It’s sad that there are so many extraordinary women who got pushed out of the spotlight of science and history for years just because they’re women. If they are recognized, their stories aren’t complete or they don’t get recognized until it’s too late for them to enjoy their credit.  

Centuries later, women are still fighting for their spot. We’re told we can do anything we put our minds to, but the mentality that we’re second to men still exists. If we’re supposed to be empowered and help change the world, we need to start by giving more credit to the women in history who’ve helped shape our world.

No more forgetting or failing to acknowledge people like Hedy Lamarr and Rosalind Franklin. Textbooks shouldn’t still have remnants of outdated bias. Textbooks need to include the contributions of women without cutting them off before a full explanation and credit can be given. 

We’re in a day and age where we should’ve learned by now that all people are capable of doing amazing things. Women have been fighting for their spot for decades, and even more, depending on other factors based on their background. No more. Give women the credit they deserve.