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Women in AV History: Hedy Lamarr

Editor's Note: This blog was republished with permission from AVIXA. The mission of the AVIXA Women's Council is to provide a community committed to supporting and empowering women who work in technology and AV. In this blog, Jennifer Goodyer highlights the accomplishment of an extraordinary woman in the AV and technology field.

If you are interested in joining the AVIXA Women’s Council, or to learn more about the group, please visit: https://www.avixa.org/about-avixa/membership/committees-councils/avixa-women-s-council

Last month, a historic number of women were elected to the U.S. Congress. That got me thinking about the history of women making contributions in male-dominated fields, and some of those early pioneers in the AV industry.

I’d like to highlight the accomplishment of Hedy Lamarr, an extraordinary woman in the AV and technology field, so we can continue to celebrate the contributions and impact she has made to our industry.

The AV industry still values her discovery, spread-spectrum technology, because it can be used to overcome obstacles the industry still faces. Lamarr's life story also teaches us she could have really benefited from the support of a local women’s group. In fact, if she had any encouragement, the outcome of World War II, communication technologies, and the AV industry as we know it, could have been completely different.

Lamarr's life was fascinating. There are stories of her dating U.S President John F. Kennedy, Snow White and Cat Woman were based off her image, and she unprecedently negotiated a higher salary with film studio MGM. I also discovered that most people only recognize Hedy Lamarr as a glamorous 1940s Hollywood actress, known for roles in Oscar-nominated films such as Algiers and Sampson and Delilah.  That's probably why it sounds unconventional that Lamarr, who was named “The Most Beautiful Girl in The World,” would also be a female engineer role model. You would never assume the genius that discovered “frequency hopping” technology would be this same person. That being said, Hedy always labeled herself as a “true enemy of convention.”

If Hedy Lamarr had the empowerment and support we receive from our women's groups, I think the possibilities would have been endless for her. Although her life story left me in awe, the disrespect she endured in her attempts to succeed as an inventor gave me a profound appreciation for the women's group I'm fortunate enough to be a member of. I’m a member of the AVIXA Women’s Council. Our mission is to provide a community committed to supporting and empowering women who work in technology and AV

To read the full version of this blog, visit https://www.avixa.org/insight/blog/blog/2018/11/16/women-in-av-history-hedy-lamarr.

Jennifer Goodyer is a sales manager at RT Sales and recent founder of the South Florida AVIXA Women’s Council group. Jennifer earned her CTS in 2015 and is currently working towards her CTS-D with AVIXA. You can follow Jennifer on Linkedin.