Thursday, March 8, 2012

International Women's Day: 5 inventions by women that make travel (& life) better


March 8th is International Women's Day. To celebrate, here are 5 inventions by women that have had an impact on traveling and traveling with kids:

1. Disposable diapers, invented by Marion Donovan
My kids are out of diapers by now, but when they were little, I know I would not have wanted to travel by plane without a stack of water-proof, disposable diapers. I'm guessing many fellow plane-passengers might have felt the same!

2. The Snugli baby carrier, invented by Ann More
Ann More was inspired by the way she saw African women carry their babies, and then used that inspiration to invent the Snugli-type baby-carrier. When my kids were babies, I loved bringing our Baby Bjorn carrier (which is based on the same design) on flights: it is just such a practical way to carry your child safely, and have your hands free at the same time.

3. Chocolate chip cookies, invented by Ruth Wakefield
No, they're not the most nutritious snack ever, and if they get warm the chocolate could melt and lead to messiness (something that is a big no-no on a flight), but still: what a wonderful treat and snack (and bribe!) for traveling kids. I know my kids have enjoyed their fair share of chocolate chip cookies at airports on our travels!

4. The modern brassiere, invented by Mary Phelps Jacob
A comfortable bra is a really important part of my travel wardrobe when I go on a long flight (actually, it's an important part of my wardrobe all the time). I think many women are grateful to Mary Phelps Jacob for inventing something better than the old-school supporting garments made of whale-bones and steel rods!

5. A better satellite propulsion system, invented by Yvonne Brill
Satellites are essential for so many forms of travel and communication today that it's difficult to even imagine our modern way of life without them. Yvonne Brill, a Canadian woman, has had a major impact on this field because she invented a satellite propulsion system that helps satellites stay in orbit longer. The science geek and science fiction nerd inside me loves this almost Star Trek-y quote about her:
Yvonne C. Brill has effectively expanded the frontiers of space through innovations in rocket and jet propulsion.

Finally: Happy International Women's Day to all women inventors, women travelers, and women in general!

IWD logo thanks to internationalwomensday.com.

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