“Women are always saying, ‘We can do anything that men can do.’ But Men should be saying, ‘We can do anything that women can do.'” —Gloria Steinem
Hello readers, as most of us may know 8th March is celebrated as International Women’s day. The day is celebrated to honour women’s achievements all over the world, without any regards to restrictions like race, language, ethnicity etc. Even though the International Women’s Day celebration has its roots in the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe, with time it has acquired a day celebrated across the globe. This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is” Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”. The theme, very aptly named, seeks to urge governments to ‘step it up’ and bridge the longstanding, gaping gender equality gap by formulating appropriate policies and laws.
So we thought we should become a part of these celebrations too. We have a great series of posts lined up for you, where we will be discussing important inventions that have made a difference to our lives, all invented by some great women. These women are the unsung heroines who have changed the way we live, and we don’t even know that.
The first invention we’re discussing today, that might have saved millions of lives, is the ‘fire escape’. Patented by Anna Connelly in 1887, bearing patent number US368816 A, it may come as a surprise to most of you but this invention came into being at a time where women were not allowed to vote or work outside of their household. The abstract to the invention states
“My invention relates to improvements in fire-escapes; and it consists of a bridge surrounded by a railing and having openings in the ends of the floor thereof, as herein described, the said bridge being adapted to be placed on the roofs of adjoining or adjacent buildings, thereby permitting the ready and safe passage from one roof to the other.
It further consists in providing, in connection with said bridge, alarms adapted to be operated from said bridge and located substantially as described, whereby the inmates of either or both of the said buildings may be alarmed, as and for the purpose set forth. “
Even though Ms. Connelly’s design for a fire escape was not the same as the modern fire escape, it proved to be a big help for the time and was definitely the precursor and inspiration. The working of the fire escape was simple, once the people reached the top of the building they could use the fire escape bridge to safely go to the neighboring building. What a life saver right?
Well we’ll be back with some more posts about some real life heroines! So stay tuned!
Image Source/Attribution here, this image is in the public domain.