Celebrating Women who changed the Tech World on International Women’s Day 2022
Each year, on 8 March, women are celebrated as part of the annual International Women’s Day. At PitchMe, a female-led tech company, we couldn’t miss this opportunity! For Women’s Day this year, we want to tell you about the women that shaped the Tech World in the past, as well as about women that still transform it today!
Ada Lovelace: The World’s First Computer Programmer
Anna was a daughter of the Byrons, born in 1815. One may wonder, how does one become a programmer in the 1800s? She used her mathematical talent while working on the “Analytical Engine” with Babbage. This complicated device was never actually created, but resembled the elements of a modern computer. It was Lovelace’s notes on the Analytical Engine that Alan Turing used as a form of inspiration for his work on the first modern computer in the 1940s. As a result of her work on the project, Ada is often referred to as the “world’s first computer programmer”!
Hedy Lamarr: The Inspiration for Wifi
Hedy had not only the looks, but also the talents of a film actress. However, in 1942, she was also awarded a patent for her “secret communication system”, designed with the help of the composer George Antheil. This frequency hopping system was intended as a way to set radio-guided torpedos off course during the war, but the idea eventually inspired Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth technology! Oh Hedy, how much we wish we had your looks and the brains!
Mary Wilkes: The First Home Computer User
Mary Wilkes is a former computer programmer and logic designer. She is best known for designing the software for the LINC, one of the earliest systems of an interactive personal computer. Her use of the LINC at home in 1965 made her the first ever home computer user, and her work has been recognised at The National Museum of Computing, Bletchley Park.
Grace Hopper: The Esteemed Computer Scientist
Undeniably famous in the tech world, Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper was an esteemed computer scientist and one of the first computer programmers to work on the Harvard Mark I. Her work led to the development of COBOL, an early programming language we is still used to this day. In 1947, she recorded the worlds first ever real computer bug, and it is also said that she coined the phrase: “it is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” At PitchMe, we often come back to this saying on our work meetings 👀
Annie Easley: The NASA Rocket Scientist
Annie Easley was a NASA rocket scientist, and a trailblazer for gender and racial diversity in STEM. When hired, she was one of only four black employees at the Lab. 34 years later, she had contributed to numerous programs as a computer scientist, inspired many through her enthusiastic participation in outreach programs, and broken down barriers as equal employment opportunity counsellor. Easley’s vital work on the Centaur rocket project while at NASA laid the foundations for space shuttle launches in the future.
Women changing the Tech Industry now!
While we would love to introduce to many more inspiring women that changed the Tech World, like Katherine Johnson the NASA Mathematician, Karen Sparck-Jones the pioneer in Information Science or Elizabeth Feinler “the Original Search Engine”, we want to also acknowledge the women in tech changing the industries now. As much as we would love to be able to include ALL inspirational women in tech, it’s simply not possible. Hence, here are our top picks!
Radia Perlman: The Mother Of The Internet
Nicknamed “Mother of the Internet”, Radia’s invention of the algorithm behind the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), was instrumental in making today’s internet possible. Her work made a huge impact on the way networks self-organize and move data, and put the basic rules of internet traffic in place. Radia has delivered keynote speeches across the world, and is still a computer programmer and engineer for Dell EMC.
Susan Wojcicki: CEO of YouTube
Topping virtually every list of female tech CEOs is Susan Wojcicki. Google’s sixteenth employee and initial marketing manager, Wojcicki contributed to the development of Google Images and AdSense as she rose up the ranks. The Silicon Valley native and mother of five eventually suggested the acquisition of YouTube, and became its CEO in 2014. “Tech is an incredible force that will change our world in ways we can’t anticipate. If that force is only 20 to 30% women, that is a problem” Wojcicki has said.
Kimberly Bryant: Founder and CEO of Black Girls Code
Kimberly Bryant used her 401(k) to start Black Girls Code in 2011. The struggle to find a diverse computer programming course for her daughter in the Bay Area inspired the nonprofit, which now has the mission of teaching a million girls of color how to code by the year 2040. Among a long list of other well-deserved accolades, Bryant was named a Champion of Change by the White House and received the Ingenuity Award in Social Progress from the Smithsonian Institute.
Ginni Rometty: CEO of IBM
Shaping the future of artificial intelligence. Ginni Rometty began her career with IBM in 1981 in Detroit. In her 35-year career at the company as CEO, chairman and president, she has led spending programs for data analysis software and skills, cloud computing and IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence technology. Rometty attended the world business forum in Davos earlier this year touting the vast capability of IBM’s Watson AI platform she sought to ease fears that the technology will displace human workers entirely but instead deliver the potential for AI’s to “find solutions to the world’s most unsolvable problems.”
Sheryl Sandberg: COO at Facebook
No list of women in tech would be complete without Sheryl Sandberg featured. Facebook’s chief operating officer since 2008, Sandberg has helped dramatically boost revenues at the social network and in doing so, her own public profile, which she has used to raise awareness of gender diversity issues within the technology sector. Prior to Facebook she spent six years as a vice president at Google, where she was one of the first employees and developed some of its most profitable programs. Sandberg recently unveiled Facebook’s flagship European counternarrative program, the Online Civil Courage Initiative, working actively with governments to remove terrorism from the Facebook platform. She announced recently “There is no place for hate or violence on Facebook. We use technology like AI to find and remove terrorist propaganda, and we have teams of counter-terrorism experts and reviewers around the world working to keep extremist content off our platform.”
Elizabeth Churchill: Director of User Experience at Google
She held positions at various tech companies, including Yahoo, eBay and Google. She is currently Google’s director of user experience. In this role, Churchill researches and presents on topics related to computer science, psychology, design, analytics and anthropology to make user experience more precise and efficient. Churchill also serves as the vice president of the Association of Computing Machinery. She also has more than 50 patents granted or pending, and more than 100 published articles in multiple fields of psychology and computing! Fun Fact: Elizabeth Churchill obtained her Bachelor Degree at Sussex University, just like our Digital Marketing Manager at PitchMe! 😉
Thank you to the brilliant women who work in technology roles who exemplify our vision at PitchMe to inspire people to reimagine how technology can transform lives!
We’ll continue our celebration of inspiring women in tech throughout March, in honor of Women’s History Month. Follow us on Social Media to learn more about some of the talented femaleswho make up our team.
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