When most people think of leaders in the technology industry, certain names come to mind. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and the late Steve Jobs, just to name a few. Unfortunately, most people might struggle to name a woman who has made their mark or is a leader in the technology industry.
Thanks to Netflix, some people might know about Hedy Lamarr, a 50s and 60s era actress without whom innovations like WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS might not exist. She along with composer George Antheil developed a radio guidance system for torpedoes that utilized frequency hopping and spread system technology.
In fact, when asked if they could name a female leader in technology, only 8.3% of respondents said they could. It gets worse. Of that 8.3 %, one quarter responded either “Alexa” or “Siri.”
“Not only are women overlooked when it comes to jobs in technology, they often face unique challenges such as pay gaps and gender discrimination,” says Sherry Cross, an attorney at Simmrin Law Group.
However, there are numerous women who are pioneering the technology field and becoming role models for others striving to emulate them. Here are just a few of them.
Forbes named Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg to the top of their tech list and the fourth most powerful woman overall. She has been on Capitol Hill defending the social media giant in the face of Russian election meddling.
Ginni held numerous positions at computer giant IBM before being named the Chief Executive Officer in 2011, the first woman to hold the position. She’s been featured in Fortune Magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women” in Business for the past 10 years. She even held the top spot on the list in 2012, 2013, and 2014.
Kimberly is the founder of Black Girls Code and is leading the way in technology education. The nonprofit educational organization was founded in San Francisco and has since expanded across the United States and internationally to South Africa. The organization’s goal? To teach girls of color between the ages of 6 and 17 to develop mobile apps as well as robotics technology and computer programming.
Finding female leaders in technology may be difficult enough, but finding female leaders in rocket science may be a distant dream. Not for Gwynne Shotwell, President of SpaceX. She oversees operations, including more than 40 upcoming launches and preparing a spacecraft for a Mars visit in 2018.
Vanessa is the Co-founder of Girl Develop It, which offers low-cost and judgment free tutorials on coding and helped teach around 12,000 women the ins and outs of building software. Now, she runs CodeMontage, which connects coders of all levels of skill to social nonprofit organizations.
Ranking at number two on Forbes’ list, Susan is not only the CEO of YouTube, she is vocal about the gender gap in Silicon Valley. Since taking over in 2014, she has increased the number of female employees by 6% — from 24% female to 30%. Compare that to Google’s 1% increase in female employees over the same time period.
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