The Not-So-Famous Five

Most often throughout history and even today, we tend to hear more about the successes of male inventors, scientists, and artists. We really don’t have to dig deep to find equally talented women from a variety of backgrounds who have contributed immensely to a wide range of fields, professions and causes. Today let’s celebrate a few of these women by recognizing their amazing achievements!

1. Madam C. J. Walker (1867-1919)

Sarah Breedlove, more commonly known as Madam C. J. Walker was an African American woman born in Louisiana. She lost both parents at the early age of six, and was married and widowed by twenty. At that time, with a two-year old child to care for, she went to work as a laundress in St Louis.

In 1905 she began to lose her hair. Unable to find suitable treatment for her condition, Walker developed her own hair products and method, which became known as the famous “Walker System.” Walker targeted African American women, promoting merchandise specifically tailored to their needs and health, unlike the popular products at that time. Soon enough, the humble woman from Louisiana became the first female African American millionaire.

During her journey to success Walker encouraged and mentored other female African American entrepreneurs to achieve financial independence. She was also responsible for establishing one of the first national conferences for female entrepreneurs to engage in discussions on business and commerce. Walker created opportunities for many African American women who came after her to pursue their goals regardless of other’s disparagement.

2. Rosalind Elsie Franklin (1920-1958)

Rosalind Franklin was born in England and from a young age held a passion for science. Despite her family’s wishes, Franklin decided to attend Newnham College in Cambridge to pursue studies in the Natural Sciences, and after graduating, she went on to earn her PhD in 1945.