Image: On the Rag
Image: On the Rag

SocietyDecember 9, 2020

On the Rag: Things you probably didn’t know were made by women

Image: On the Rag
Image: On the Rag

In the latest episode of On the Rag, we look at the intersection of gender and design, including this list of women who invented incredible things and then were promptly forgotten about. 

Women everywhere know the acute frustration that comes when a man steals your suggestion in a meeting and then presents it to a room of adoring applause. Now imagine if that same kind of erasure was to happen over something massive in society, and your role in that thing was completely removed from the history books? 

Next time you are wrestling with your bra and cursing the day it was born, spare a thought for Mary Phelps Jacobs, who stitched two hankies to a ribbon and casually invented the modern brassiere in 1913. She placed a patent for the design and tried to make a living from it until the early 1920s, when two blokes bought the patent for $1500. They would go on to make a mere $15 million from her groundbreaking design. 

Or, the next time you are scream-crying because you landed on Lambton Quay, pay your respects to Lizzie Magie. The leftwing feminist invented The Landlord’s Game in 1903 after becoming disillusioned with growing inequality, hoping it would serve as a subversive vehicle for social change. A bloke picked up the game at his mates house and sold an eerily similar version to Parker Brothers in 1932. You might have heard of it – they called it Monopoly.

On the Rag is made with the support of NZ On Air. Watch more episodes here.

Mad Chapman, Editor
Aotearoa continues to adapt to a new reality and The Spinoff is right there, sorting fact from fiction to bring you the latest updates and biggest stories. Help us continue this coverage, and so much more, by supporting The Spinoff Members.Madeleine Chapman, EditorJoin Members

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