Statistics reveal a very dismal picture when it comes to women in tech careers. Not only is the tech industry overwhelmingly dominated by men, but they also earn far more than their female colleagues. A study had shown that women make up only about 25 percent of the tech workforce in the USA, and are underpaid as well. Despite the dominance of men in this field, there have been a number of brilliant examples where women were the face of innovation and change.
Women’s impact on tech has been largely undervalued, but once you go through what everyone has to say, you will understand just why we need to celebrate these women more.
We have made a list of some of the famous tech women, from the last few decades to those who are reigning today. These women are founders, innovators, mathematicians, and leaders. They are the hope we hold on to when we want to see more girls in STEM.
Looking at Women’s Impact on Tech Through the Years
This list is by no means all-encompassing. Countless women have contributed to technology being what it is today. Here are just a few of them who have made a difference and whose names deserve to be as mainstream as any other tech genius.
- Ada Lovelace- The First Computer Programmer
We all know that Charles Babbage is known as the father of the modern computer. However, not many of us know about his colleague Ada Lovelace, who is believed to be the world’s first computer programmer. The daughter of the romantic poet Lord Byron, Lovelace’s skills shone through in mathematics, logic, and reasoning from a very young age.
She developed a good working relationship with Babbage and it was greatly due to her efforts that he was able to make the world’s first computer model. When we talk about women’s impact on tech, Ada Lovelace is probably the first example to mention.
Moreover, it was Lovelace’s notes that Alan Turing used to work on the first modern computer in the 1940s. Ada Lovelace deserves to be celebrated for her genius for contributing to making something that has simplified every aspect of human life.
- Grace Hopper- Computer Scientist
Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper is very well-known in the tech world for being one of the first women to be involved extensively in the development of COBOL, a programming language that is used in numerous applications even today.
She was also the first person to record the first computer bug in the year 1947. Her work on the Harvard Mark I has been nothing short of legendary in the tech world. Her contributions to making tech more gender inclusive have been conclusive evidence of women’s impact on tech. She is one of the most respected and famous females in technology.
- Adele Goldberg- The Inspiration Behind GUI
Smalltalk-80 was the programming language that inspired the first ever Apple computer. Goldberg was instrumental in the development of the language and its programming, the concepts set by Goldberg and her team have been vital in the development of the graphical user interface (GUI) that is used even today in numerous applications. Goldber’s work has shown that women’s impact on tech can have long-reaching applications.
- Radia Perlman- The Mother of Internet
Perlman still works as a programmer at Dell EMC and was the inventor of the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), the protocol which has made the internet of today become a reality. Her work has been instrumental in determining the way networks self-organize and move data.
It has also been her work that has put the basic internet traffic rules in place. Perlman has been delivering keynote speeches at STEM universities and conferences across the world. Perlman is one of the most prolific examples of women’s impact on tech.
- Karen Spark-Jones- Information Science pioneer
The work of Karen Spark-Jones has been one of the most highly cited in the entire field of information science. She invented Inverse Document Frequency (IDF), which is important in understanding how important a word is in a document. This is used today in the application of SEO, which determines how relevant the result is to the question posed in the search engine. This is the technology that ranks a document’s relevance on search engine results. She was awarded the prestigious Lovelace Medal in 2007.
- Elizabeth Feinler- The Original Search Engine
Between the years 1972 to 1989, Feinler ran the Network Information Center (NIC) in California, USA, which is sometimes referred to as the pre-historic Google. The NIC was the first place where resources and directories of the internet were stored, and “white pages” and “yellow pages” were directed.
Her group was also the main force behind domain naming such as .com, .gov, .edu, and so on, which are used today. Feinler has been instrumental in solidifying women’s impact on tech through the years.
- Susan Wojcicki- CEO of YouTube
One of the most commonly used applications of today, YouTube has become a global phenomenon it is largely due to the leadership and efforts of Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of the company. She was Google’s sixteenth employee and later its marketing manager.
She contributed to the development of Google Images and AdSense and swiftly rose through the ranks in Silicon Valley and was the first to suggest the acquisition of YouTube. She has been the CEO since 2014 and has been an active vocal proponent of encouraging more girls to join the tech world to break up the boys’ monopoly of Silicon Valley.
No list of women’s impact on tech is complete without her honorary mention. She is one of the most famous female tech entrepreneurs.
- Kate Crawford; Co-Founder of AI Now Institute
AI is slowly becoming one of the mainstays in the tech world today. Numerous manual applications are being improved upon with the use of AI and its applications. Crawford is an Australian author and proponent of AI and machine learning. She is most well-known for her argument against the use of facial recognition technology for now.
She stated that while AI is extremely powerful in detecting patterns, it lacks situational and contextual awareness, which can have bad implications across hiring decisions and other instrumental functions that are now being moved from manual to automatic.
The AI Now Institute at NYU was co-founded by Crawford, and she works now as a senior researcher at Microsoft. Her efforts aimed at AI and machine learning conclusively show women’s impact on tech.
- Reshma Saujani: CEO and Founder of Girls Who Code
The famous TED talk “Teach Girls Bravery, not Perfection” came from the mind of the brilliant Reshma Saujani, who became the first Indian-American woman to run for the US Congress in 2010. She started the nonprofit Girls Who Code to encourage more women to join the tech field and increase gender diversity in the field.
The need for gender diversity in the tech world is more apparent today than ever when women are being underpaid and not valued for their contributions to the field. Women’s impact on tech has been nothing short of legendary, and we can expect to witness great feats if we simply give women the chance to make it in the tech world.
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Author Bio –
Mokshada Tandon is an accomplished Content Writer at The Voice Of Woman. Her agenda through writing and creating content is to spread awareness and discuss issues that are relevant in a woman’s life. Every concern, passion, dilemma, and perspective that a woman might have been beautifully written about by her. Her experience and outlook on women are capable of spreading knowledge and bringing about a change in society.