Navigating Matilda Effect

Surya Vignesh
Apr 18, 2024
Learning, School

The Matilda Effect, a term coined by historian Margaret Rossiter, sheds light on the longstanding bias that has obscured the contributions of women throughout history, particularly in fields like science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Despite strides towards gender equality, women's achievements often remain overshadowed or attributed to their male counterparts. 

WINGS (Women Inspiring Next Generation STEM) by GCIE (Global Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship) is actively combating this phenomenon, striving to promote the visibility and recognition of women's accomplishments.

Unmasking the effect:

Named after suffragist Matilda Joslyn Gage, who fought against the erasure of women's contributions in history, the Matilda Effect highlights the systemic bias that undervalues women's work. The term was coined by historian Margaret Rossiter in 1993. Throughout history, countless women have made significant contributions to various fields, only to have their achievements overshadowed or attributed to their male counterparts. From scientific discoveries to technological innovations, the Matilda Effect has perpetuated the narrative of male dominance and female insignificance.

Matilda effect through the pages of history

Throughout history, remarkable women have made significant strides in various fields, only to have their achievements overlooked. From revolutionizing household chores to shaping modern technology, these women have left an indelible mark on society. Let's discover their unsung stories:

E K Janaki Ammal, the first woman botanist in India, best known for her contributions to making sugarcane sweet. The pioneering scientist is also credited with groundbreaking studies on plant breeding, genetics and cytogenetics.

Marian Croak's visionary leadership revolutionized VoIP, enabling FaceTime, Skype, Magic Jack, and text donations post-disasters. Her foresight expanded VoIP's impact, reshaping how we connect and contribute globally

Josephine Garis Cochrane. Her contribution revolutionized domestic chores with one of the most important innovations of her era: the automatic dishwasher.

Gladys West's dedication and creation of an IBM 7030 Stretch Computer was what later on helped build the global positioning system (GPS).

Ankita Thakur reflected on her journey as a woman in STEM, from facing sexist interviewers to enduring the gender pay gap. She shared how her upbringing encouraged her to face challenges and begin her entrepreneurial journey in artificial intelligence.

Melitta Bentz, a coffee-loving housewife whose ingenious idea reshaped our daily brew in the early 1900s. The Inventor of Coffee Filter

Hedy Lamarr for many is known as “Hollywood’s most beautiful woman,” but there's so much more to her than good looks. Put it this way: without her, there might not be any of today’s Wi-Fi.

Margaret Eloise Knight was an American inventor, notably of a machine to produce flat-bottomed paper bags.

Mary Anderson invented the current most necessary feature in every vehicle and mode of transportation, yet this might be the first time we knew her name! The inventor of wiper

WINGS: Building Bridges WINGS: Bridging the Gap

In response to the Matilda Effect, the WINGS Forum has emerged as a beacon of hope, dedicated to empowering women in STEM. Through networking events, mentorship programs, and recognition initiatives like Gifted and Talented (GNT), WINGS aims to provide visibility and encourage girls to pursue their dreams in STEM from a young age 

Breaking Barriers:

WINGS forum primarily  addresses the Matilda Effect by amplifying the voices and achievements of women in STEM. Through its Leadership Lecture Series, workshop and competition, WINGS showcases the groundbreaking achievements and publications of female innovators, highlighting their contributions to their respective fields.

Additionally, the WINGS Forum actively works to address the systemic barriers that contribute to the Matilda Effect. From advocating for gender-inclusive policies to promoting diversity and inclusion in academic and corporate settings, WINGS seeks to dismantle the structural inequalities that hinder women's advancement in STEM. By fostering collaboration and solidarity among women scientists, the forum empowers individuals to navigate and overcome the challenges they face in their careers.


The Matilda Effect remains a persistent challenge in our society, perpetuating gender disparities and inhibiting the full participation of women in STEM fields. However, initiatives like the WINGS Forum offer hope for progress, providing a platform for women to challenge stereotypes, advocate for change, and support one another in their professional journeys. By breaking down barriers and amplifying women's voices, the WINGS Forum is paving the way towards a more inclusive and equitable future for STEM and society.

Surya Vignesh


GIIS Abu Dhabi

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