On International Women’s Day, we want to focus on women in tech, and their inspirational stories which have forever changed the world of technology. Through a look at their achievements, we’ll discover how their contributions are not only key to innovation but also to creating a more sustainable and diverse technology landscape.


   1. Ada Lovelace 

Lovelace, the daughter of the renowned poet Lord Byron and Annabella Milbanke Byron, received private education from tutors and pursued self-education. In her advanced studies, she received assistance from Augustus De Morgan, a mathematician-logician and the inaugural professor of mathematics at the University of London.


Ada collaborated with Charles Babbage and developed a program for his digital computer prototype, earning her recognition as the first computer programmer. The early programming language, Ada, was named in her honor, and the second Tuesday in October is now celebrated as Ada Lovelace Day, dedicated to honoring the contributions of women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.


Ada Lovelace 

Ada Lovelace 


   2. Hedy Lamarr

Born in Vienna on November 9, 1914, Hedy Lamarr, originally Hedwig Eva Kiesler, explored machines from a young age during walks with her bank director father. By age 5, she dismantled and reassembled a music box.


Before World War II, she collaborated with George Antheil on a communication system to guide torpedoes. The system used “frequency hopping” among radio waves, preventing interception and ensuring the torpedo hit its target. Constantly innovating, Lamarr’s significant achievement paved the way for today’s WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth.


Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr


   3. Annie Easley

Annie Easley was an African American computer scientist and accomplished mathematician. She was born in Birmingham, Alabama. In her early years, she aspired to be a nurse but switched to pharmaceuticals when she began high school.


Commencing her journey at NASA in 1955, Annie Easley contributed by performing mathematical calculations. Evolving with technology, she transitioned into a proficient programmer, supporting NASA’s initiatives in tech. Her expertise encompassed crafting and executing code for investigating energy-conversion systems and studying alternative power technology, showcasing the valuable role of women in tech.


Annie Easley

Annie Easley


   4. Adele Goldberg

Adele Goldberg was born in Cleveland, Ohio, on July 22, 1945. She enjoyed problem-solving and mathematics from a young age and was encouraged by her teachers to pursue mathematics. In 1967, she earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics at the University of Michigan.


As a Xerox PARC researcher in the 1970s, she co-developed Smalltalk-80 and object-oriented programming concepts. The concepts that Adele and her team set in motion became the basis for the graphical user interfaces (GUI) we use every day.


Adele Goldberg

Adele Goldberg


   5. Radia Perlman

Radia Joy Perlman is an American computer programmer and network engineer. She was born in 1951, in Portsmouth, Virginia. Both of her parents worked as engineers for the US government. Her father worked on radar and her mother was a mathematician by training who worked as a computer programmer.


During her school years, Perlman found math and science to be “effortless and fascinating”. Today, she is a major figure in assembling the networks and technology to enable what we now know as the Internet. She is most famous for her invention of the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), which is fundamental to the operation of network bridges.


Radia Perlman

Radia Perlman


   6. Elizabeth Feinler

Elizabeth Jocelyn “Jake” Feinler is an American information scientist. Feinler was born on March 2, 1931, in Wheeling, West Virginia, where she also grew up. In 1954, she received an undergraduate degree from West Liberty State College, the first in her family to attend college.


In 1972, Doug Engelbart recruited Feinler to join his Augmentation Research Center (ARC), where she initially led the Literature Research section. Assigned to create a Resource Handbook for the ARPANET’s first demonstration, Feinler later became the principal investigator for the Network Information Center (NIC), overseeing its services and contributions to the ARPANET and the evolving Internet. Her group also developed the domain naming scheme of .com, .edu, .gov, .net, and many more that we use so commonly today.


Elizabeth Feinler

Elizabeth Feinler


   7. Grace Hopper

Grace Brewster Hopper was an American computer scientist, mathematician, and United States Navy rear admiral. At the age of seven, she decided to determine how an alarm clock worked and dismantled seven alarm clocks before her mother realized what she was doing.


Before her Navy service, Hopper obtained a Ph.D. in mathematics, becoming a math professor at Vassar College. Pioneering programming for the Harvard Mark I, she formulated the theory of machine-independent programming languages. Hopper then transformed her theory into FLOW-MATIC, the precursor to COBOL, a widely adopted high-level programming language.


Grace Hopper - one of many women in tech

Grace Hopper


   8. Margaret Elaine Hamilton

Margaret Elaine Hamilton is an American computer scientist, systems engineer, and business owner. She was born August 17, 1936, in Paoli, Indiana. Initially planning to pursue graduate studies in abstract mathematics at Brandeis University, Hamilton shifted course in mid-1959. She joined MIT’s meteorology department, working with Edward Norton Lorenz and developing software for weather prediction.


In a pivotal role, she served as the director of the Software Engineering Division at MIT Instrumentation Lab, crafting onboard flight software for NASA’s Apollo program—a groundbreaking achievement. Subsequently, she founded two influential software companies—Higher Order Software in 1976 and Hamilton Technologies in 1986, both headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Margaret Elaine Hamilton - one of many women in tech

Margaret Elaine Hamilton


   9. Mary Allen Wilkes

Mary Allen Wilkes is a lawyer, former computer programmer, and logic designer. She was born in Chicago, Illinois, and graduated from Wellesley College in 1959 where she majored in philosophy and theology. Wilkes planned to become a lawyer but was discouraged by friends and mentors from pursuing law because of the challenges women faced in the field.


From 1959 to 1960, Wilkes contributed to MIT’s Speech Recognition Project, later joining the Digital Computer Group at Lincoln Laboratory. In 1961, she played a key role in the LINC design, simulating operations and contributing to console design. After global travel in 1964, Wilkes rejoined the group in late 1964, working from her parents’ home in Baltimore. There, she used a LINC provided by the Computer Systems Laboratory, becoming recognized as the first user of a personal computer at home.


Mary Allen Wilkes - one of many women in tech

Mary Allen Wilkes


   10. Carol Shaw

Carol Shaw is one of the first female game designers and programmers in the video game industry. Shaw was born in 1955 and was raised in Palo Alto, California. In a 2011 interview, she said she did not like playing with dolls as a child but learned about model railroading from playing with her brother’s set, a hobby she continued until college.


Best known for River Raid (1982), a vertical shooter on Atari 2600, she worked at Atari, Inc. (1978-1980) designing games like 3-D Tic-Tac-Toe (1978) and Video Checkers (1980). Leaving game development in 1984, she retired in 1990.


Carol Shaw - one of many women in tech

Carol Shaw


The experiences of women in tech, characterized by exceptional skill, commitment, and bravery in overcoming challenges, have profoundly shaped technology, influencing the current landscape. These narratives underscore the importance of women in tech, emphasizing the need for inclusive innovation and the significance of diversity in effectively addressing technological challenges!



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Published On: March 8th, 2024 / Categories: Innovation, News / Tags: , , , , /