Important Women in Technology History
By Jaclyn Aldrich
Next Friday, March 8th, the world will celebrate International Women’s Day. What began as a “Women’s Day” organized by the Socialist Party in 1909 in New York, has evolved into a day to celebrate women and fight to close the gender gap by empowering more women across the globe.
As a technology company, Visibility would like to take a look at some of the women pioneers in the technology industry. As a traditionally male dominated field, women had immense challenges to make their mark in technology. We are grateful for these 5 women (and many more not mentioned here) for paving the way in this field:
- Augusta Ada King-Noel, Countess of Lovelace (1815-1852). This English mathematician was best known for her work on Charles Babbage’s proposed mechanical general purpose computer, which was the precursor to the modern computer. Although she received little recognition during her lifetime, she is now known as the first female computer programmer.
- The Bletchly Park code crackers (1938-1945). During WWII in England many women stepped up to aid the war effort. There was an elite group of women who became cryptanalysts and decoded German codes, playing an instrumental part in the Allies winning the war.
- Grace Hopper (1906-1992). Hopper was a computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. She was one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer as well as one of the developers of the COBOL computer language.
- Sister Mary Kenneth Keller (1913-1985). Keller was the first woman to receive a PhD in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1965. A couple of her many contributions to the computer science world include developing the computer language BASIC as well as founding and chairing the Computer Science Department at Clarke College for 20 years.
- Radia Perlman (Born 1951). She is known as the “mother of the internet” – creating the algorithm behind Spanning Tree Protocol, which is a crucial part of the internet’s underlying foundation.
These courageous women paved the way for women in tech – including modern day technology executives like Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer. Without these pioneers in the field, we wouldn’t see more and more young girls studying STEM subjects and entering the tech field like we are now.