While men continue to dominate the top positions in technology, there are women who have worked hard to reach the top, developing innovative technology and leading profitable enterprises. They frequently not only join a current company, but also originate or co-found a new commercial concept.
Technology today has an impact on every aspect of life, and it is constantly changing and progressing. While the phrase “technology” connotes growth and innovation, employment figures demonstrate a gender disparity, notably among women.
You might have to browse through lists devoted to women particularly to locate the women who have progressed through the ranks. There are a lot of them, and this list can’t possibly include them all. Instead, it offers a dozen options. Some of the names are well-known, while others are not.
They are all very competent in their profession, whether they have worked their way up the ranks of a well-established company, developed a wholly new concept that forms the foundation of a new one, or have the vision to see which new tech startup they should invest in.
Some had personal experience with discrimination and sexual harassment and were inspired to help establish better enterprises, organisations, and futures for future generations of women.
Herd is the CEO and founder of Bumble. She started the site as a dating app in 2014, after she had left Tinder, a company she had helped build and where she had been sexually harassed and then sued.
Bumble is now more than just a dating app; it’s also a social app. As it says on the site, Bumble was made to change the game from the typical dating app for men to a way for women to meet that is safe and appealing.
“Bumble was started because the old rules of dating needed to be changed. Now, Bumble gives its users the tools they need to connect with confidence, whether they want to date, network, or meet new friends online. We’ve changed old ideas about men and women by making it not only necessary but also okay for women to make the first move. We put kindness and respect first and offer a safe place for people to meet new people online.”
Forbes made a list of America’s Richest Self-Made Women in 2020, and Herd was on it. After taking Bumble public in 2021, she became the youngest woman in the world to become a self-made billionaire. She still owns 11,6% of her company, which is worth more than $1.5 billion.
Steckelberg has been Zoom Video Communications’ chief financial officer since 2017. She had been the CEO of the dating site Zoosk before that. She also worked for companies like Cisco’s Webex, which gave her useful experience.
The CFO of a brand that is now a household name did well with the Zoom stock options that came with her job. Due to the pandemic, when in-person meetings, social events, and classes had to be replaced with virtual ones, Zoom was widely used because it was free to use. Zoom’s stock price continues to go up, and more than 331% growth is expected by 2021.
On LinkedIn, Buolamwini calls herself a “Algorithmic Bias Researcher and Poet of Code.”
She is only 31 years old, and Forbes’ list of 30 Under 30 for Enterprise Technology in 2019 included her.
She says that her life’s work is to fight against bias in machine learning, which she calls a “coded gaze.” In a TED talk she gave a few years ago, she talked about how accountability in coding is becoming more and more important as algorithms are given more and more power to make decisions that shape policies and how they are carried out.
In 2020, she was the focus of an article in Fast Company called Meet the computer scientist and activist who made Big Tech stop. It said:
“Today, Buolamwini is leading a growing movement to show how artificial intelligence affects society. Through her nearly four-year-old nonprofit, the Algorithmic Justice League (AJL), she has told federal, state, and local lawmakers about the dangers of using facial recognition technologies without keeping an eye on how they are made or used.
Buolamwini and Timnit Gebre wrote a paper together called “Gender Shades: Intersectional Accuracy Disparities in Commercial Gender Classification.” This paper was a landmark because it showed that facial recognition was pretty accurate for white men but not so much for women or people of colour.
“Professional Mad Scientist” is what Ming’s LinkedIn profile says she does for a living. She is called a theoretical neuroscientist, a technologist, and an entrepreneur in the business world. She helped start Socos Labs and is the Executive Chair of the company. Anyone who wants to can join Socos Labs’ “Academy of Mad Scientists.”
Carnegie Mellon University is where Dr. Ming got his PhD in psychology and theoretical neuroscience. She combines her interest in that with her interest in technology in her work at Socos. She is often asked for her thoughts on AI.
As her profile says, she has learned to use AI to solve problems: “In her spare time, Vivienne has created AI systems to help treat her diabetic son, predict manic episodes in bipolar patients weeks in advance, and reunite orphan refugees with extended family members.” Read more; Right Ways to Get Started in Crypto for Beginners
She does, however, recognise some of its flaws and has talked about them in a talk called “Understand Your Love/Hate Relationship with AI,” in which she said:
“AI is not always to blame for mistakes. They’re human flaws, and we’re not willing to address the fact that the teams building the systems don’t have a lot of different people on them. And, perhaps unintentionally, they don’t put as much thought into balancing training sets to make the thing work right. But teams let it happen over and over again. You realise that if you don’t think about the human problem, AI won’t solve it for you.
Saujani is the author of Women Who Don’t Wait in Line: Break the Mold, Lead the Way, the New York Times bestseller, Girls Who Code: Learn to Code and Change the World and the international bestseller Brave, Not Perfect: How Celebrating Imperfection Helps You Live Your Best, Most Joyful Life, In her TED talk, “Teach girls courage, not perfection,” she said that this was the key for girls to succeed in the tech field.
She is also the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, a national non-profit organisation that works to close the gender gap in technology by challenging stereotypes about programmers. But after running the organisation for almost a decade, she plans to step down as CEO. Tarika Barret will take her place. She will keep her job as chair of the board.
Saujani wrote about the plans in a Medium post:
“Girls Who Code has reached 300,000 girls around the world in the last ten years. Our group of college-aged alumni is made up of 80,000 young women. We are on track to end the gap between men and women by 2030. But the COVID-19 pandemic has still set back a lot of girls in school and in their careers, and we still have to deal with a culture that says girls don’t belong in tech and an industry that needs to be held accountable for hiring, keeping, and promoting women and people of colour.”
Bryant started Black Girls CODE in 2011 and became its CEO. Black Girls CODE is a non-profit group that wants to “change the face of technology.” Its goal is clear:
“To get more women of colour involved in the digital space by giving girls ages 7–17 the tools they need to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and creators of their own futures by giving them experience with computer science and technology. To give African-American youth the skills they need to fill some of the 1.4 million job openings in computing that are expected in the U.S. by 2020, and to train 1 million girls by 2040.”
In a blog post from 2015, she said that she was driven by a very personal reason: “I didn’t want my daughter to feel culturally alone while she was going to school, like I did when I was young. I didn’t want her to give up on her interests just because she didn’t see anyone in the classroom who was like her. In the digitally driven innovation economy of today, my daughter and other girls of colour needed a group to help them grow and succeed. So, Black Girls CODE came into being.”
Bryant also made the following comments about how it had taken off and grown: “Women and girls are by nature change-makers. If we teach one girl how to code, she will go on to teach other girls. We’ve seen this in our own programmes and workshops around the country. And we know that this affects more than just one person. If we give these girls the skills they need to succeed, they can change not only their own lives but also the lives of the communities they represent.”
Shotwell is the President and COO of SpaceX. He is also on the Board of Directors for the company. In 2002, when SpaceX was a brand-new company, she became its eleventh worker. She was Vice President of Business Development at the time. In May 2020, SpaceX became the first private company to send an American into space.
Bloomberg put her on a list of 50 people who defined the year 2020 and quoted what she said at a news conference after SpaceX’s successful mission in May, when she said that what the company would do was “just the beginning”: “We are starting the process of regularly sending people to and from low Earth orbit, the moon, and eventually Mars.”
Shotwell won the 2011 World Technology Award for Individual Achievement in Space, and in June 2012, she was inducted into the Women In Technology International Hall of Fame. Read also; Can Technology Eliminate Poverty