This International Womens Day (March 8th) we take a look at 10 inspirational female movers and shakers in technology and digital.
It’s a well known fact that there are fewer women who follow a career path in digital or computer technology than there are men. This International Women’s Day (March 8th), here are 10 of our fave female digital and computer pioneers.
Born in 1815, Ada is widely recognised as the world’s first computer programmer. After attending the University of London to study mathematics , she found herself working as an inventor for Charles Babbage. It was working for him where she created the concept of a computing operating system. Ada died at the age of 36, but her lasting legacy has made her a role model for girls and young women. She has managed to become such an inspiration that she now has a day of her own on the 16th October.
Janie Tsao co founded the company Linsky from her garage at home. It later became the leading company in wireless and networking for retailers and e-commerce. Eventually, it was bought by Cisco for half a billion dollars. If that wasn’t good enough Cisco then asked Tsao and her husband to continue to lead the brand. Despite her proven track record she still pops up on one’s to watch lists! A definite high flyer.
Grace Hopper is often referred to as a ‘pioneer computer scientist’, known for creating COBOL – the first computing language. In 1969 she was named ‘Computer Science Man of the Year’ by the Data Processing Management Association (we like to think that award ceremony’s think a little more about what they call their awards these days!) In 1991, she was awarded the National Medal of Technology which is the highest honour within engineering and technology the United States have. She was the first woman to receive the award and did not stop working and sharing her knowledge until the day she died in 1992 aged 86.
37 years old, Marissa Mayer is a modern day woman, becoming the latest CEO of Yahoo. She earned her stripes at google as an executive and key spokeswoman for the search engine giant. She attended Stanford University, graduating with honours in symbolic systems and and in computer science. In 2009, the Illinois Institute of Technology granted Mayer an honoris causa doctorate degree in recognition of her work in the field of search.
She is a two time Godel Prize winner in theoretical computer science and winner of several other awards for her outstanding computer skills, Shafi Goldwasser has helped to pave the way for other women within the technology industry. She is currently the RSA Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer science at MIT and a Professor of Mathematical Science at the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel. Her biggest and most noted achievement to date is her work on interactive and zero proofs which serve to allow secure transmission of information over the internet.
Sheryl Sandberg is facebook’s first female board member and owner of almost $1 billion invested stock in the company. She manages her high profile job alongside bringing up her family. Previously she has worked with former President Bill Clinton and has managed Google’s online global sales and operation. She is one of few women to play such a high role in digital technology.
Co-creator of flickr, she has done so much more than create one of the first photo uploading websites (and let’s face it for most of us that would be enough), she has also led yahoo’s technology development group – which nurtured new ways for people to interact on the internet, she is also on the board of Creative Commons. Amazingly she’s not stopping there, now she’s venturing into a new development called Hutch, which will work in developing ways to make decisions based on multiple data inputs. Will this self driven woman ever stop?
Anita Borg was able to combine her technical expertise, fearless vision and high level of motivation to get where she is today. She is founder of Syster online community, where beforehand such communities were not the mainstream across the internet.
As well as founding the institute for women and technology and being commissioned by former President Clinton in 1999 on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology, she continuins to serve on the committee of National Research Council on Women in Science and Engineering.
Sister Mary Kenneth Keller
Not only was she a nun but she was also the first woman in the United States to receive a Ph.D degree in computer science in 1965. She then went on to found the computer science department in Iowa and established a masters degree program for applications in computer science. Unfortunately she died in 1971 but left behind a big legacy in computing and education.
Mary Lou Jepsen
Mary Lou Jepsen is widely known for her One Laptop Per Child project. She believes that everyone should have access to a laptop. Using her expertise in computer science and running a non profit organisation, she’s created a low cost and low power laptop to send out to third world countries. It’s the greenest and cheapest laptop ever made. Now over 2.4 million children and teachers have her to thank. Today she is still going strong and is continuing to grow her company making laptops that work out at less than $200. In 2008 she was named in The Times as one of the top 100 most influential people.
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