Between the years of 2007 and 2018, the number of businesses owned by Black women grew by a whopping 164 percent, according to the American Express 2018 State of Women-Owned Business Report. The numbers certainly were not surprising. During the past 10 years, we’ve witnessed a surge of innovation from Black women entrepreneurs in the areas of beauty, tech, baby gear, and home care.
Ironically, a report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City found the leading cause for Black women venturing into entrepreneurship to be “poor treatment and the perception of being undervalued in the workplace.” Data from the AMEX report backed up this sentiment, noting that “higher unemployment rates, long-term unemployment, and a much greater gender and racial pay gap have led women of color to start businesses at a higher rate out of necessity and the need to survive.”
Of course, we highlight these statistics not to make others feel sorry for us, but to commemorate our resilience and tenacity. With the turn of the decade approaching, we thought it would be fitting to celebrate Black women inventors and their accomplishments by highlighting ten of the best Black women inventions of the last ten years.
Lisa Gelobter, Chief Digital Service Officer for the United States Department of Education, is the computer scientist who developed the animation used to create GIFs, forever changing the way we text and tweet. She’s also responsible for Shockwave and was even a member of the senior management team for the launch of Hulu.