Healthcare. Technology. Communications. That’s what LPP is known for in public relations. Our understanding of these markets goes deeper than just messaging and media outreach though. During Women’s History Month we honor and respect the women who have been pivotal in advancing so many healthcare and technological innovations.
Women Leaders in Healthcare
Marie Curie. “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” A Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist, Marie Curie conducted pioneering research on radioactivity (a term she coined). She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first person and only woman to win twice. Among her discoveries including two new elements, isolating radioactive isotopes, she developed mobile radiography units to provide X-ray services to field hospitals. Marie Curie’s work today: Seen in hospitals, healthcare facilities, and sports facilities.
Elizabeth Blackwell. “The idea of winning a doctor’s degree gradually assumed the aspect of a great moral struggle, and the moral fight possessed immense attraction for me.” A British-born citizen, Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman to receive a medical degree in the United States and the first woman on the UK Medical Register. An advocate and pioneer in supporting medical education for women, she founded the New York Infirmary for Women and Children which offered an opportunity for women who had been rejected from internships elsewhere. Elizabeth Blackwell’s work today: Nearly half of U.S. medical school admissions are women, according to stats from the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Antonia Novello. “I believe that fortitude is the key. More than anything, be consistent. Go at it. Go at it. Go at it. When you succeed, don’t forget the responsibility of making somebody else succeed with you.” A Puerto Rican physician and public health administrator, Antonia Novello was the 14th Surgeon General of the United States. She was the first woman and first Hispanic to serve in this position. She focused on public policy issues affecting the health of young people, women, and minorities. Her particular focus was on building public awareness for underage drinking, smoking, and AIDS (especially among women and adolescents). Antonia Novello’s work today: Her campaign against the tobacco industry helped end advertisements directed toward children.
Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston. “We were poor, we were uninsured, [my mother] was not getting health care …and that’s why she fainted. And from that point on, I knew that I wanted to do something to change that situation.” Dr. Marilyn Hughes Gaston has championed healthcare equality for all Americans and has dedicated her career to medical care for poor and minority families. She was the first African American woman to direct a public health service bureau – the Bureau of Primary Health Care in the United States Department of Health and Human Services. She worked with the National Institutes for Health on sickle cell disease which led to a nationwide screening program to test newborns for immediate treatment. Marilyn Hughes Gaston’s work today: Immediate testing for sickle cell disease in newborns continues along with the treatment protocol of long-term penicillin treatments.
Women Leaders in Technology
Grace Hopper. “The most damaging phrase in the language is: ‘It’s always been done that way.’” Navy Rear Admiral Grace Hopper was an American computer scientist who invented the first translation program for computers. She popularized the idea of machine-independent programming languages, leading to the development of COBOL and shifting computer programming from binary code to language-based programming. Grace Hopper’s work today: Her work made programming more accessible which empowered more people to become programmers.
Radia Perlman. “The world would be a better place if more engineers, like me, hated technology. The stuff I design, if I’m successful, nobody will ever notice. Things will just work, and be self-managing.” Radia Perlman invented the Spanning-Tree Protocol (STP) which is fundamental to the operation of network bridges and made Ethernet technology a household name. It is the most commonly used LAN (Local Area Network) today and a technology many people have been using their whole lives without knowing. This network innovation has led some to call Perlman the Mother of the Internet. Radia Perlman’s work today: Still used for networking computers in offices and homes today.
Ada Lovelace. “Imagination is the Discovering Faculty, pre-eminently. It is that which penetrates into the unseen around us, the worlds of Science.” An English mathematician and writer, Ada Lovelace developed an algorithm for a computer that didn’t yet exist. Through her work on the Analytical Engine, a proposed mechanical general-purpose computer, she is often regarded as the first to recognize the full potential of a machine that had applications beyond pure calculation. Ada Lovelace’s work today: Her written algorithms paved the way for modern computing.
Hedy Lamarr. “Hope and curiosity about the future seemed better than guarantees. The unknown was always so attractive to me…and still is.” An Austrian and American film actress, Hedy Lamarr was also an inventor credited with co-creating a radio guidance system during World War II for the Navy to remotely control torpedoes. She played a key role in the invention of spread-spectrum technology and frequency hopping which randomized channel switching, and was considered an early form of encryption technology. Hedy Lamarr’s work today: Spread-spectrum technology has made modern technologies like WiFi and Bluetooth possible.
Bonus: Women Leaders in Public Relations
We’d be remiss not to mention at least one woman we admire in public relations.
Melissa Zipin. “Never accept the status quo.” Melissa Zipin has always been a rebel. In fact, she started the healthcare practice at LPP at a time when the agency was known solely for technology expertise. She knows PR and will always tell it like it is. Start a conversation with her – you won’t be disappointed.
Be sure to follow @LPP_PR on Twitter to find the exclusive image cards featuring these influential women during Women’s History Month.