Amazing Women in History— With the timeline below, you will learn about some of the creativity and tenacity of 10 inspirational women in motor history. The timeline includes fascinating facts about their career accomplishments and some setbacks they faced along the way. There are also key takeaways we can learn from their amazing journeys.
Today, we explore women’s involvement and contributions to the auto industry. It’s truly fascinating to learn about the incredible ideas, inventions, and accomplishments of these wonderful women. (And, it’s fun to write about them, too.)
The 10 women highlighted below changed history and excelled in a male-dominated industry. They were trailblazers and lady bosses — before that term was even invented! So keep on reading and be sure to share this fascinating information with your students.
Ok, let’s get to it. Take a look and learn more about these phenomenal women in motor history.
10 Amazing Women in Automotive History
CarRentals recently published the following timeline celebrating women in the auto industry and their incredible contributions. Let’s take a closer look at these amazing women in history.
Bertha Benz was the first person to drive a car over a long distance (without permission to do so and, hence, illegally). She pioneered the luxury car company Mercedes Benz and her drive lead to improvements like brake pads and gear shifts.
Margaret Wilcox was one of the first female mechanical engineers of her time. She invented the first car heater, and her invention became the basis for modern heating systems. Thanks for keeping us warm, Margaret!
Mary Anderson had the idea of windshield wipers. But, she failed to sell her idea because it was deemed unsafe. She was definitely a creative problem-solver beyond her time.
Alice Huyler Ramsey was the first woman to drive from coast to coast. She founded the Women’s Motoring Club and was the first woman inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.
Florence Lawrence invented the turn and brake stop signals. (Thank you, Florence!!) Sadly, she never received credit for her inventions.
Hedy Lamarr is the inventor of the radio signaling device. Her patent became the stepping stone for cellular technology. She was given an Electronic Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award.
Dr. Gladys West was the second black female mathematician hired by the US Naval Weapons Lab. Her programming became the basis for GPS. She was inducted into the US Air Force Hall of Fame on Dec 6, 2018.
(You may have heard about her from the movie Hidden Figures.)
Michelle Christensen is the first woman to lead a supercar design team. Her work broke stereotypes and boundaries for women in the auto design field.
Danica Sue Patrick is the first and only woman to win an Indy car race (2008 Indy Japan 300). She is also the first female NASCAR driver to win a Cup Series pole at the Daytona 500.
Mary T Barra is the first female CEO of General Motors which is a first for all major global auto companies. Under her leadership, GM has made great strides towards gender equality and has set a fabulous example for other companies.
Learning and Writing About Women Who Have Changed History
Encouraging girls to have healthy mentors that show them what they can accomplish, despite adversity or pushback from others, and can help boost confidence and resilience.
Currently, STEM careers and industries like the car industry are greatly male-dominated so use these stories as inspiration for young girls to pursue careers outside of the gender norm. Help your students learn more about women who have changed history by studying the timeline above and using the writing prompt ideas below in your classroom.
Amazing Women in (Auto) History Writing Prompts
Below are some great writing prompts to encourage learning and writing about the stories of female scientists, inventors, and creative boss ladies from history.
- Which woman in automotive history do you find most inspirational and why?
- Which of these careers interests you most and why?
- Why is it important for girls to study science?
- Write about a woman in your community who inspires you.
- What challenges do you think these 10 women in automotive history faced and how do you think they overcame them?
- Would you like to be an amazing woman in history one day? Explain in detail why and how you can do so.
- Why do you think gender equality is important?
- Do you believe the wage gap exists? Why or why not?
- What advancements in gender equality do you hope to see in your lifetime?
- What is the best thing about being a woman in today’s world?
- What access do women have to careers today that women did not have 100 years ago?
- What do you know about gender roles and how they affect you, your friends, family, and the world?
Amazing Women in History Resources
- 11 of History’s Fiercest Females Everyone Should Know
- 100 Women Who Changed the World
- 35 Writing Prompts about Women’s Equality
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