Women inventors, long overlooked, are churning out more patents than ever

Updated 8:47 AM ET, Tue March 26, 2019

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(CNN)If you've used Wi-Fi, windshield wipers or a dishwasher -- and who hasn't? -- you have a woman to thank.

Male inventors such as Henry Ford, Nikola Tesla and Alexander Graham Bell get all the press. But this Women's History Month, it's important to note that women have been the masterminds behind some invaluable creations, too.
Take Radia Perlman. She holds more than 100 US patents and paved the way for the development of the internet. Or Beulah Louise Henry, known as "Lady Edison" after she obtained 49 patents for her inventions, including an ice cream freezer. Or Carolyn Bertozzi, named on 50 US patents, who invented her own field of study: bio-orthogonal chemistry. The list goes on.
In recent years, women have been churning out more inventions than ever, says the US Patent and Trademark Office.
But women are still seriously outnumbered by men when it comes to obtaining patents. The disparity is so severe that one recent study found -- based on current growth -- that it will take 118 years before the US reaches gender parity among inventors.
Mary Anderson with her schematics for an early version of the windshield wiper, patented in 1903. She got the idea when she toured New York in a trolley car on a snowy day and noticed the driver often had to open his windows to see out.