In honor of International Women’s Day (March 8) and Women’s History Month we’re taking a look at some of the women throughout history that helped shape technology, as well as a group of tech titans creating the future.

1. Ada Lovelace

How do you make something that doesn’t exist yet? Nineteenth Century mathematician Ada Lovelace did just that when she developed an algorithm that was the prototype for digital software decades later. As a result, she is often referred to as the world’s first computer programmer.

2. Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

Grace Hopper was a computer pioneer and, as her title suggests, a naval officer. She led the team that created one of the world’s first commercial computers, called UNIVAC 1. Although it was much smaller and more efficient than its precursors, the machine still took up an entire desk and weighed 16,000 pounds!

3. Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lamarr is probably best known for her acting career, which included features in nearly a dozen films, but she was also an inventor who pioneered the technology that would one day form the basis for today’s WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth communication systems. The technology was originally created to help the Navy remotely control torpedoes, and has been refined over time to help us check social media, binge our favorite shows, and play games on-the-go.  

4. Karen Sparck Jones

Jones was a British computer scientist who worked tirelessly to improve the way that computers retrieve information and process human communication. Her work paved the way for modern search engines, so when you inevitably internet search “Karen Sparck Jones” you are able to do so thanks to her.

5. Roberta Williams

As a video game designer, Roberta Williams developed her first game “Mystery House” in the late 70s. Although she was not a formally trained game developer, Mystery House was a massive success that launched an entire genre of graphic adventure games. You can watch Williams tell her story in the Netflix documentary “High Score.”

Women who are shaping the future

Although strides are being made to address diversity and equity in the workplace, there is still work to be done in the tech sector. According to research, women make up only 25 percent of the tech workforce. The good news is that there are women helping change this. Here are five women currently shaping tech.

1. Dr. Ambareen Siraj

Dr. Siraj is the founder and a board member at WiCyS (Women in Cybersecurity), a non-profit dedicated to bringing together women in cybersecurity from academia, research and industry to share knowledge, experience, networking and mentoring.

2. Gwynne Shotwell

When it comes to tech, it’s hard to beat spaceships. Engineer and Space X COO Gwynne Shotwell is helping shape the future of space exploration with her work at the famed company. Last year, they became the first privately-owned outfit to send astronauts into space. Her work is truly out of this world.

3. Susan Diane Wojcicki

Susan Wojcicki is the CEO of video giant YouTube. As one of Google’s earliest employees, Wojcicki climbed the ranks and now heads a company that is estimated to be worth nearly $200 million .

4. Fei Fei Li

Fei-Fei Li is currently a professor of computer science at Stanford University and co-director of Stanford’s Human-Centered AI Institute and the Stanford Vision and Learning Lab. Li is also the co-founder and chairperson of AI4ALL, a nonprofit which aims to educate the next generation of AI scientists and has been called an AI pioneer.

Thank you for learning more about these great innovators. At FirstBank we are dedicated to celebrating and serving all cultures, genders, religions and creeds. Read more about our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion efforts on our About Us page, and check out the rest of our Smart Cents blog content for financial health tips and more community stories like this one.

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