Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg are just a few of the most renowned names where technology is concerned. There is no denying that the industry is heavily male-dominated. But are there any famous women in technology who have helped grow the industry?
While women are vastly underrepresented in the tech sector, it does not mean that there aren’t any influential figures who have made a difference. It is just that more often than not, they fly under the radar, their success overshadowed by that of their male counterparts. Some even have astonishing achievements that surpass those of famous men in the tech world.
Top 10 famous women in technology who changed the world
From being the first programmers to helping advance space exploration, women in technology can boast several feats. Below, we have compiled a list of famous women in the history of technology who helped grow the industry and shape its future.
1. Ada Lovelace
Who is the mother of technology? Ada Lovelace is a top contender, at least as far as computer programming is concerned.
Lovelace was a brilliant mathematician in the 1800s, the daughter of British poet Lord Byron. One of her best-known works was the translation of the article, Analytical Engine by Luigi Menabrea.
During the translation process, she added several of her notes, including methods for using codes to communicate with machines. She also included steps to creating a looping process (a technique used in coding today) and even attempted to create computational systems for ga*bling prediction.
2. Grace Hopper
Grace Hopper is a former United States Navy sailor who attained the rank of rear admiral. However, her most notable works were in science and technology.
After joining the Navy, Hopper (who had a PHD in Mathematics) was assigned to a US Navy Computation Project at Harvard University. She participated in several groundbreaking projects during her time there, such as being part of the team that created the first compiler.
Black Sherif, Afena Gyan & other less-than-25 Ghanaians who came out of nowhere to become superstars in last 2 years
The compiler created by Hopper and her team would later help create the COBOL programming language. Hopper also worked as a consultant for the team that created the language. She is also credited for coming up with the terms computer bug and debugging after an incident involving a moth and a Mark II computer during her time at Harvard.
3. Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-born American actor. However, she was also a brilliant scientist and inventor. During World War II, Lamar and George Antheil (a music composer) developed a radio communication system for the Allied Forces.
Their communication technology used frequency hopping and spread spectrum to bypass jamming and avoid detection by enemy forces. The technology would later form the basis of GPS, Bluetooth, and wireless technology (CDMA and Wi-Fi).
4. Radia Perlman
Radia Perlman is one of the most influential female leaders in technology history. She is a computer programmer, network engineer, and network security expert who holds over one hundred patents.
Perlman is known for inventing the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), a fundamental technology for network bridges. The STP would later be used as a building block for the internet. Furthermore, Perlman also designed the IS-IS protocol used in IP routing today. Due to her accomplishments, she has often been called the mother of the internet.
5. Susan Wojcicki
Who is the biggest woman in the tech world today? Susan Wojcicki, the current CEO of YouTube, is at the top of the list. With a successful career in the industry that spans over two decades, her contribution to technology and the world is immeasurable.
Wojcicki was instrumental in founding Google and later rose through the ranks, becoming the company’s first marketing manager. She was also part of the team that developed Google AdSense and Google Images. Furthermore, she was the person who convinced Google to acquire YouTube.
6. Elizabeth Feinler
Elizabeth Feinler is another woman credited with helping create the internet. She is an American information scientist who worked at the Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International), where she was the director of the Network Information Centre (NIC).
The NIC was responsible for the Domain Name System; Feinler and her research group were the ones who developed domain name schemes of .com, .org, .gov, .net, and .edu. Furthermore, she managed the first internet yellow and white pages, i.e., the original search engines.
At NIC, Feinler managed the ARPANET and later Defense Data Network, two technologies that helped build the internet. For her contributions to technology, she was inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame in 2012.
7. Margaret Hamilton
Margaret Hamilton is another one of the top women in tech. She is a famous mathematician and is considered one of the pioneers of the computer science field. Hamilton was the person who coined the term software engineer while describing her work.
Hamilton is famous for several groundbreaking achievements in the field of technology. For example, she was part of the team that created software the US Air Force used to search for unfriendly aircraft in the 1960s. She also worked for NASA, where she wrote code for the lunar and command modules used on the Apollo Moon missions.
8. Katherine Johnson
Katherine Johnson is another one of the most famous women in technology. She was a brilliant mathematician whose work helped shape the future of the US Space Program.
Johnson joined National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) – NASA’s precursor, where she worked in the West Area Computing Unit. Together with other African-American women, they were tasked with performing complex manual mathematical equations for the program’s engineers.
When NASA was founded, Hamilton became a member of the Space Taskforce Group – NASA employees tasked with managing the human spaceflight program. During her time at the agency, she helped calculate and analyze the flight paths of spacecraft, which guaranteed the success of several NASA missions.
9. Karen Spärck Jones
Karen Spärck Jones is another pioneer in the computer science field. She was a British computer scientist who worked at the Cambridge Language Research Unit and Cambridge University Laboratory. She was involved in several research projects in information retrieval and natural language processing.
Spärck Jones' most significant achievement was the invention of the Inverse Document Frequency. The technology helps determines how important a word is depending on its frequency of appearance in a document. IDF would later become a building block for modern-day search engines, used in ranking document's relevance based on the user query.
10. Safra Catz
Safra Catz is another influential personality in the field of technology. She is currently the CEO of Oracle, one of the largest tech companies in the world. In 2021, she was ranked number ten on Fortune’s list of 50 most powerful women in the business world.
Catz joined Oracle in 1999 as a senior vice president and rose through the ranks to become the company’s president and later CFO and CEO. During her tenure at the company, she has helped in over 100 acquisitions and merges, including the 2005 acquisition of Oracle’s rival, PeopleSoft.
Many people often perceive the tech world as difficult and unwelcoming for a woman. However, these influential and famous women in technology overcame many challenges and helped shape the world's future. They are a testament that success in any field should not be measured by gender but by achievements.
Yen.com.gh shared an interesting article about the most beautiful girls in Ghana. For many people, beauty encompasses physical appearance and behaviours with regard to how they interact with society. Apart from being educated, the beautiful girls in Ghana have utilized their talents to earn a living.
Beautiful girls in Ghana are famous for their black skin and curves. However, away from their physical appearances, they are all-around successful women, as seen in their careers and business ventures.