For Women’s History Month, here’s a look at seven women, past and present, who have irrevocably changed the course of technology. Women are sadly underrepresented in the tech sector. The National Center for Women & Information Technology reported that in the year 2015 only 25% of tech jobs were held by women. But, 57% of all professional jobs were held by women. From Ada Lovelace who blazed the trail to Reshma Saujani who is training the next generation of young women, these women are an inspiration to us all.
1. Elizabeth Feinler
An early trailblazer of the Internet, before it was called the Internet, Feinler ran the Network Information Center at the Stanford Research Institute. There she assigned domain names to anyone who wanted to join the ARPAnet, the precursor to the internet.
2. Ada Lovelace
Did you know the world’s first computer programmer was a woman? Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician who published the first code meant to be carried out by a machine. She was originally tasked to translate verbatim an article on Charles Babbage’s analytical engine, but she recognized the potential in Babbage’s engine. In her translation, she included her thoughts on how Babbage’s analytical engine could be expanded.
3. Megan Smith
The first female CTO (Chief Technology Officer) of the United States, Megan Smith spent her years as CTO pushing for more diversity in the tech sector. After leaving politics, Smith helped create Tech Jobs Tour, a country-wide effort to put more people in tech jobs.
4. Dr. Gladys West
Recognized on the list of inspirational Black leaders and pioneers of tech, Dr. West is credited with writing the code that made GPS possible. For over ten years, she worked to account for the tidal, gravitational, and other forces that distort our understanding of the Earth’s shape. Without her tireless efforts, GPS as we know it may not exist today.
5. Donna Dubinsky
Originally employed by Apple, Dubinsky left there in 1992 to co-create the first-ever digital assistant, the Palm Pilot. Later, she co-founded a company named Handspring with her fellow Palm Pilot creator.
6. Dr. Marian Croak
Currently Engineering Vice President at Google, Dr. Croak previously worked at AT&T. During her time at AT&T, she was instrumental in developing VoIP, voice over internet protocols. She also made charitable donations via text possible. Also recognized as an inspirational Black leader and pioneer in tech, Dr. Croak and her discoveries has revolutionized our way of working especially in current times of collaborating online using tools like Google Meet.
7. Reshma Saujani
Reshma Saujani started Girls Who Code, an initiative to get more girls into coding from an early age. The organization offers girls the chance to fall in love with computer science through after-school clubs, summer camps, and college track programs.
This list only skims the surface highlighting some of the many women that have made powerful contributions to the world of technology. Although vastly underrepresented, women joining up-and-coming career fields like computer science and STEM programs are on the rise and continuing to grow. CTL celebrates Women’s History Month and continues to support gender equality especially in the workplace by continuing to educate and inspire females everywhere to be the difference!