Framed photos of Patsy Mink - Margaret Hamilton - Gloria Richardson

 

Written by Lexie Graf

 

Today more women are entering the funeral profession than ever, with the number of female funeral directors increasing by 43% in the past few decades. Currently, 60% of mortuary students are women, which means we will see this number steadily increase.

 

During conferences such as ICCFA, these women are gaining recognition, however, that has not always been the case for women in the funeral profession and other professions.

 

Throughout history, many women have been overshadowed by their male counterparts. These women were hardworking, driven individuals who never received the recognition they deserved.

 

That’s why we are highlighting a few of the many women who were overlooked in history below!

 

1. Margaret Hamilton

When you think of the moon landing, you probably think of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. Though these men deserve a special place in history so does one of the prominent women who helped make this mission a success — Margaret Hamilton. During her time working for NASA, she was the leader of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory. She and her team developed the spacecraft’s guidance and navigation system. Without their extensive problem-solving skills, the moon landing wouldn’t have been possible.

 

2. Gloria Richardson

Gloria Richardson was a fearless activist during the Civil Rights Movement. Though she received higher education, she was often unable to find employment due to racial discrimination. She led a grass-roots movement that critiqued how black women were treated in America, and she was one of the founders of the Cambridge Nonviolent Action Committee. Gloria was one of few women of the movement to go on stage. She is currently 97 years old and still speaks about her time as a civil rights activist.

 

3. Gertrude Benham

Today, it’s more common for women to travel on their own. However, during Gertrude Benham’s time, this was unheard of. Between 1904 and 1938, she had extensively traveled the world, climbing more than 300 peaks that are over 10,000 feet. She traveled alone, creating sketches and collecting native flowers along the way.

 

4. Dorothy Lawrence

In 1915, 19-year-old Dorothy Lawrence disguised herself as a man and posed as a soldier in WWI. She worked in the trenches installing mines for nearly two weeks. Since the English government didn’t want people knowing a woman secretly joined the army, she was not able to write about her experience in detail.

 

5. Patsy Mink

Patsy Mink was a third-generation Japanese American who knew from an early age that she was meant to be in politics. Early in her career, she worked to end segregation on a university campus and then became a lawyer. In 1965, she was elected into U.S. Congress, making her the first woman of color to do so.

 

Who is a woman you feel has been overlooked in history? Share her story in the comments below!