Inspiring Women In Tech: Past and Present
It’s the 8th of March and you know what that means- it’s International Woman’s Day! We’ve put together a list of some of the most important and inspiring women in tech past or present. There’s no better day than today to celebrate their legacies or impact and find inspiration in their strength and determination!
Ada Lovelace was born in 1815 and she is deemed to be the first ever computer programmer. She wrote an algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine. Realising the importance of the development and what could come in the future, she wrote that it “might act upon other things besides number” and that machines to come “might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music”. Ada has become the face of women in Stem subjects.
Thanks to “The Imitation Game”, Joan Clarke was brought into the mainstream. She was part of the team cracking codes and deciphering ciphers at Bletchley Park during the second world war and worked closely with Alan Turing. After finishing her studies at Cambridge she was recruited in the Government Code and Cypher School in 1939. Up until recently, the thousands of women code breakers were overshadowed, but now women such as Clarke and Mary Every are being recognized for their contribution and legacies.
Lamarr was not just a glamorous Hollywood star in the 1940s. She essentially invented radio frequency-hopping during the war, with her main focus being countering torpedoes. Together with George Antheil she tweaked radio frequencies at irregular times between transmission and reception, thus coming up with a system that meant messages were not easily intercepted. Aside from her foray into acting and radio innovation, she also invented a traffic light and a sort of carbonated soft drink. The definition of “not just a pretty face”.
Sandberg is the chief operating officer of Facebook and one of the most well-known women in tech currently. She pursued a degree in economics and then worked for a bit at Google. After being hired by Facebook she became the first woman on the board and has long been a champion of gender equality. In 2012 when she received a seat on the board at Facebook, she was included in the world’s 100 most powerful people by Time.
Martha Lane Fox
Martha Lane Fox founded Lastminute.com in 1998 after she developed an interest in the internet. She is one of the most powerful digital campaigners in the UK and has been appointed to be the government’s Digital Inclusion Champion. Later she became the youngest female member in the House of Lords.
Often referred to as the “mother of the internet” (which she really dislikes) due to her invention of STP (spanning-tree protocol), she helped shape the world wide web into what we know today. STP essentially prevents repetition of information and action in the instance when a network is shared by multiple machines.
Perlman’s mother was a programmer and inspired by that, she went to study at MIT. Throughout her life she has registered over 100 patents.
The ENIAC Six
During WW2 the ENIAC Six were among the mathematicians in charge and responsible for programing the machine for the US Army. They didn’t have the help of a programming language or an operating system, so they had to do everything by hand.
When the ENIAC was presented to the press for the first time in 1946, the women were left out completely and the male hardware engineers were solely named and congratulated. Due to this, the women’s achievement was more or less forgotten for a half a century.
Have we missed any other inspiring women in tech? Let us know in the comments!
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