Women have played a crucial role in tech throughout history. From inventing, programming, engineering, and investing.
Many of us are in tech thanks to someone who touched our lives or inspired us growing up. Our mom, teacher or aunt. Some are fictitious like Nancy Drew and Hermoine from Harry Potter. Or maybe yours flew in a real space craft like Valentina Tereshkova.
On a trip to Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA, I was reminded of how the world would not be the same without there amazing mentors, and how remarkable their journey has been.
This post will hopefully open your eyes to some of the women behind some of the worlds coolest, strangest (in a Stranger Things kinda way), groundbreaking, and geekiest tech…ever.
And in following their footsteps, if there’s no path, pave the way!
Barbara, an engineering graduate of MIT, was the first woman engineer at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), a renowned American company in the computer industry from the 1950s to the 1990s.
Barb the glass breaker Stephenson! 😍
Ginny wrote the first internetworking router software for TCP/IP protocals.
In many ways, we have her to thank for all our things. 🖥️📱💡
Ada aka Augusta Ada King-Noel the Countess of (breath) Lovelace, is best known for her work on the early mechanical general-purpose computer.
Some regard her as the first to recognise the full potential of computers and the first computer programmer.
She was also a mathemetitian from an early age. 💜💜💜
Fun fact, in 1835 she married William, 8th Baron King, becoming Lady King. 👸
Margaret A. Wilcox
Margaret’s the genius behind keeping us warm while driving — aka inventor of the car heater.
As someone who enjoys driving immensely, specifically as a way to relax and as a hobby (racing). Thank you Margaret 💜
Truly thinking outside the box, Margaret also invented a combined dish and clothes washer. That’s some futuristic sci-fi stuff. We laugh now…
Mary’s invention spurred an automotive revolution. Back in 1903 she invented the windshield wipers …before cars even had roofs.
Talk about being ahead of her time and seeing the bigger picture.
Unfortunately a Canadian firm rejected her offer to sell the invention saying "we do not consider it to be of such commercial value as would warrant our undertaking its sale." 🙄
Fun fact, she was mentioned during The Simpsons tv show; season 17, episode 19.
Elizabeth invented The Landlord’s Game in 1904, which as you can see looks similar to a game you know very well — sounds with Nonopoly.
Unfortunately her idea was completely ripped off by a Mr. Darrow, who sold it to Parker Brothers. She was never really recognized, but now you know.
Level up — sign NDAs, get it in writing, and make sure you have IP.
Marie Van Brittan Brown
Sleep safely through the night? You probably have Marie to thank. She invented the first CCTV security system. An idea that has truly proliferated.
Those patent drawings. 💜
Angela, a very rich baroness, may very well be one of the first female venture capitalists. Growing up in a very rich family and finding herself the ultimate recipient, Angela used the money as an opportunity to do good. She has a very lengthy list of projects she’s funded, in business and philanthropy. #lifegoals
Beulah Louise Henry
Beulah was an American inventor. In the 1930s, she was given the nickname "Lady Edison" for having such a badass portfolio of inventions.
From a bobbin-free sewing machine to a vacuum ice cream freezer, Beulah was awarded 49 patents and had 100+ inventions in her lifetime.
Gotcha! Betty Crocker is a fictional character. 🤯
Like Khaleesi of Game of Thrones for dragons, Simone is the mother of all shitty and fun robots. Handmade, like a boss.
I don’t even think she knows how influencial and important she is for the next generation. Follow her here. Keep fighting! I heart you Simone 💜
Life lesson: Follow your heart. No matter how crazy you sound.
Mary T. Barra
Mary is the current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, General Motors Company. Yes that GM. One of the biggest, most well know vehicle companies in the world.
Controversy, uncertainty, experiments, testing, newness, possibly, pressure, opportunity, tough decisions…all things Mary faces on the daily.
👏👏You go girl!
Susan is infamous in the world of interface design. She created many of the interface elements and typefaces for the Apple Macintosh in the 1980s.
Anyone capable of fulfilling Steve Job’s specific vision has next level skills.
Kudos to Susan for making the web a streamlined, simple and beautiful place.
Virginia M. (Ginni) Rometty
Virginia is chairman, president and chief executive officer of IBM.
If you’re in the Silicon Valley area, check out the Computer History Museum for yourself.
1401 N. Shoreline Blvd
Mountain View, CA 94043 region
I’m always looking for inspiring women to interview. Have a tip or interested in being interviewed? Connect with me on Twitter.
If you’re curious where I found some of these amazing women of tech, photos, check out my sources.