The Women Who Changed The Tech World

The Women Who Changed The Tech World

March 6, 2024

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Throughout the history of technology, the contributions of women have often been overlooked or underestimated. However, behind the scenes and sometimes in the spotlight, numerous trailblazing women have left an unforgettable mark on the tech world, driving innovation forward.

From early computing pioneers to contemporary leaders in artificial intelligence, these women have defied convention, shattered glass ceilings, and forever transformed the world we know today.


Ada Lovelace: The World’s First Computer Programmer

Daughter of the romantic poet, Lord Byron, Ada Lovelace is often hailed as the world’s first computer programmer. Born in the early 19th century, her mathematical talent came early in her life, leading her to work with Charles Babbage on his Analytical Engine – a device that resembles the elements of a modern computer.

Her visionary insights into the potential of the machine led her to write what is now considered the first algorithm used on the first modern computer, created by Alan Turing in the 1940s.

Grace Hopper: The “Queen of Code”

Fast forwarding to the mid-20th century, Rear Admiral Grace Hopper’s ground-breaking work laid the foundation for modern programming languages and software development.

Often referred to as the “Queen of Code”, her work as a computer scientist led to the development of COBOL in 1959, an early programming language widely used today in business applications. Her advocacy for women in STEM inspired countless people and paved the way for future generations of female technologists.


Hedy Lamarr: The Inventor of WiFi

Hedy Lamarr, the iconic Hollywood actress of the 1930s and 1940s, was not only known for her captivating performances on screen but also her ground-breaking contributions to technology.

Hedy was a self-taught inventor and film actress, who was awarded a patent in 1942 for her “secret communication system“, designed with the help of the composer George Antheil during World War II. This frequency hopping system was intended to prevent enemies from jamming torpedo guidance systems, but the idea eventually inspired wireless communication technologies, including Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth commonly used today.

Annie Easley: The Legacy of a NASA Rocket Scientist

Born in 1933, Easley defied societal norms and overcame racial and gender barriers to carve a path in the field of computing. When she was hired at NASA, she was one of only four black employees.

As a mathematician and computer scientist, she played an instrumental role in advancing space exploration, contributing her expertise to critical projects like the Centaur rocket program. Her innovations in software development and energy technology have also laid the foundation for breakthroughs in renewable energy and electric vehicles.

Mary Wilkes: The First Home Computer User

Mary Wilkes is a pioneering figure in the history of computing, renowned for her pioneering contributions to the development of operating systems. Born in 1937, Wilkes is perhaps best known for her work on the LINC (Laboratory Instrument Computer), where she played a pivotal role in designing and implementing the first-ever personal computer operating system.

Her innovative approach and meticulous attention to detail laid the groundwork for modern operating systems, shaping the way we interact with computers today. She is also known to be the first person to ever have a PC in their home!

Fei-Fei Li: The Visionary of Tomorrow

A woman of our time, Fei-Fei Li stands as a visionary leader at the forefront of artificial intelligence. Born in 1976 with an innate curiosity and passion for computer science, Li became one of the world’s foremost experts in computer vision and machine learning as a professor at Stanford University and the co-director of the Stanford Institute for Human-Centered Artificial Intelligence (HAI).

Her pioneering research, coupled with her commitment to ethical AI development, has earned her widespread acclaim and recognition. Li’s unwavering dedication to harnessing the power of AI for the betterment of humanity serves as an inspiration to aspiring technologists around the globe.

A Note on Celebrating Women

In the week leading up to International Women’s Day, we acknowledge and celebrate the accomplishments of trailblazing women in technology: those who forever changed the tech world we know today and those who are currently changing it and driving innovation forward.

By championing women’s contributions, breaking down barriers, and fostering an inclusive culture of collaboration and respect, we can create a brighter future where all voices are heard and valued in the promising world of technology.