In this week’s Wednesday 5: What do the submarine telescope, windshield wipers, and the circular saw all have in common? They were all invented by women; Nigerian filmmaker Chika Anadu is breaking ground for women in film; a new study suggests that much of Paleolithic cave art was done by women; Diana Nyad on God, spirituality, and humanity; and Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are back hosting the Golden Globes for two more years!



Did You Know That Women Invented These Things?

tumblr_mpdnutxDKc1qhk04bo1_1280We’re loving this list from the folks at mental_floss: 19 Things You Might Not Know Were Invented by Women. Amanda Green writes, “Necessity isn’t the only mother of invention. Though it wasn’t always easy to get patents or the credit they deserved, women are responsible for many items we use today.” You might find a few impressive inventions in the list. For example, Mary Anderson invented the first manual windshield wipers; Tabitha Babbitt, a weaver, created the first prototype for the circular saw; Katharine Blodgett, the first female scientist for General Electric, pioneered glass that eliminated glare and distortion (our eyes thank her), and Sarah Mather’s combination telescope and lamp for submarines speaks for itself.

And of course, when it comes to making our lives more efficient, we’re thankful that it was women who gifted the world with gems like the dishwasher, disposable diapers, and the computer!

Read more about these amazing women of science and invention here.



Nigerian Filmmaker Chika Anadu on Breaking Ground for Women in Film

There’s a new filmmaker on the scene. Chika Anadu’s debut  film, B for Boy, a contemporary drama set in Nigeria about one woman’s desperate need for a male child, is getting rave reviews and is currently a candidate for the London Film Festival’s First Feature Award. Kate Wilson of Indiewire tells us that Anadu “has delivered an incredibly bold, strong film about what it means to be a woman in modern day Nigeria. Her feature film is wonderfully ambitious, for which she deserves credit and applause as an emerging screenwriter and producer, and she shows great promise as a director.”  In her interview with Indiewire, the first-timer tells Wilson about her film, whose cast is heavily female and  features a female cinematographer: 

…[R]ight from the beginning I wanted to work with a woman.  There are so few female DOPs and I felt that I wanted to employer her—we women need to employ each other and help each other.  It just so happened that she was perfect—I saw her work and we share a similar aesthetic.

B for Boy (Trailer)



Were the First Artists Mostly Women?

738px-AltamiraBisonPainting of a bison in the cave of Altamira, near Santander, Spain.

That is the question archaeologist Dean Snow of Pennsylvania State University is attempting to answer by analyzing “hand prints found in eight cave sites in France and Spain. By comparing the relative lengths of certain fingers, Snow determined that three-quarters of the handprints were female,” writes Virginia Hughes for National Geographic. The results of Snow’s study reveals that women were the artists behind most of the oldest-known cave art paintings. Hughes tells us:

Because many of these early paintings also showcase game animals—bison, reindeer, horses, woolly mammoths—many researchers have proposed that they were made by male hunters, perhaps to chronicle their kills or as some kind of “hunting magic” to improve success of an upcoming hunt. The new study suggests otherwise.

But as exciting as this new discovery is, it also raises more questions to answer: “Why would women be the primary artists? Were they creating only the handprints, or the rest of the art as well? Would the hand analysis hold up if the artists weren’t human, but Neanderthal?”

Read about the study at National Geographic.



Rounds 2 and 3 of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler Hosting the Golden Globes

Yes, it’s official. The dynamic duo of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will host the next TWO! years of the Golden Globes. Kate Dries of Jezebel tells us:

Hopefully Fey and Poehler will set a precedent for more women besides their talented selves (and Ellen Degeneres) to take a big lead at shows like this. They’ve been great in the past about supporting other women; who can forget that beautiful moment in 2011 when Melissa McCarthy won her Emmy and brought all her other nominees onstage, an idea that was credited to Poehler.

Watch the best of Tina and Amy at this year’s Golden Globes here.



More of Diana Nyad

We’ve written quite often about the physical strength and willpower of Diana Nyad—the 64-year-old who recently completed a 53-hour, 110-mile swim from Havana to the shores of Key West without protection from sharks (after four failed attempts).  In this week’s dose of inspiration, we share with you a different side of Nyad—her thoughts on spirituality, God, and humanity. On a a recent episode of Super Soul Sunday on the Oprah Winfrey Network, Nyad shared with Oprah Winfrey:

“I’m an atheist . . . but I can stand at the beach’s edge with the most devout Christian, Jew, Buddhist, go on down the line, and weep with the beauty of this universe and be moved by all of humanity—all the billions of people who have lived before us, who have loved and hurt. So to me, my definition of God is humanity and is the love of humanity.”


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