Name a famous woman inventor.  Can’t?  Don’t worry, neither would most people if asked.  But, why?  Is it because conventional wisdom says “women don’t invent” and therefore have never invented anything?  Or is it because as an engineer who is both a writer in Kannada and a lecturer in an engineering college explains, “In all the texts that I had studied at school, there was never a mention of women scientists, women aviators, women inventors or women engineers.”? 

And yet a Google search will yield several websites on the subject.  I was prompted to search the Internet after reading an article in The Hindu titled “Forgotten Wonders” by Zehra Naqvi, early this week.  It was the first time I was reading an article on the subject in any publication.  Compare that with the number of articles one reads in a week on climate change. 

My Internet research revealed a list that was overwhelmingly American.  This is not surprising.  For while gender discrimination is universal, in the US, legal, economic, social and educational barriers have become less hostile to women in the last century.  Hence, I was encouraged to read of a group in Bengaluru whose goal is to identify and recognize Indian women inventors.  The group has not had to look far or dig deep to strike gold.  The women were there, just waiting to be recognized.

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