Unsung heroes, tech enthusiasts, great minds: all women who contributed to the tech sector and made an impact.
In this second part of the Women in Tech, we will present some of the biggest female names who made an impact within the tech sector and influence the way society is today.
After graduating from New York University in 1945 with a degree in physics, Evelyn Berezin became interested in the computer industry. It was only 1962 when Berezin built a computerized booking system for United Airline, the first system back then of its kind.
During Berezin’s era, opportunities for women within the computer industry were limited. However, this did not stop Berezin as she decided to found her own company as a way to prove that women have a place within the industry; she said:
“There are very few women who go into the high technology area because they’re afraid of it, but they would probably find less resistance in getting a job there than in many other fields.”
Not only are her great scientific achievements highly recognised, but they are portrayed in the film Hidden Figures. Even though Johnson displayed unique and impressive skills during her career at NASA, her gender and race held her back. Johnson displayed extraordinary skills as she worked on the plans for mission to Mars. More specifically, “even though she was a woman”,she created an observational system that allowed astronauts to identify their location more accurately. What is also very inspiring about Katherine Johnson is not only her scientific achievements, but the positive social impact that her career had in society at the time and the obstacles that she overcame due to the fact that she was a woman scientist of colour.
The phenomenal lady, Grace Hopper, had to be included in our Women in Tech list, because, we, at Coderus, strongly agree with one of her beliefs; that “we’ve always done it that way” was not necessarily a good reason to continue to do so.
As a pioneer, she pursued her belief that computer programs could be written in English. With her outstanding contributions to computer science and academia Hopper was awarded the first ever Computer Science Man-of-the-Year Award from the Data Processing Management Association.
Another ground-breaking female scientist is Annie Easley, who started her career as a “human computer” doing computations for researchers at NASA in 1955. However, both the rise and demand for machine computers was evident, Easley knew that these machines would replace the “human computers”. Easley used her determination and fantastic skills and began learning a number of languages to program the machine computers for NASA’s programs, becoming a computer programmer. Alongside her outstanding career, Easley had a tremendous impact on society, as she contributed to addressing gender, race and age rights, alongside discrimination issues.
On the top of the above stories it is the fact that it was women who developed the new field of computer programming during World War II. What is noteworthy is that, even though there were only two male engineers out of the six women who contributed to the development of ENIAC, the first Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, the male scientists were the only ones to receive public recognition.
Not very long ago, twelve teenage girls invented a solar-powered tent for the homeless, as a way to give back to the community and help people in need. The tent that this all-girl engineer team invented, which folds up into a rollaway backpack, is an attempt to improve the lives of people experiencing homelessness in their community. What is more impressive is that, the invention got presented at the MIT inventors conference, proving that tech is behind every success story, no matter how big or small the story is, or how widely known it is or not.
Recently, the President and CEO of IBM, Ginni Rometty, delivered one of the most interesting and inspiring keynote speeches at the annual CES Conference in Las Vegas. Rometty talked about all the pioneering technologies of the 21st century, including Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain, alongside how technology will revolutionise the way we live and work. Ginni Rometty focused on how AI will revolutionise the traditional way of working, and that society should get prepared for the era of “New Collar Jobs” and all the opportunities that will be created from AI.
These are only a few of the pioneers worldwide, that demonstrate the continued success and achievements of many women within the sector of computer science. Even though it was very hard for women to get within the tech sector in past, there were women who managed to break all the stereotypes and make an impact. Nowadays, even though the discriminations against women have been minimised, and the legislation has well been improved, things are not progressing as positively as they could; there are still stereotypes and conventional ideas that need to be changed. The amount of changes made within this sector are major but undoubtedly, there’s still a long way to go. At Coderus not only we support and embrace women in tech, but we also take an active involvement at supporting them locally.
For the third continual year we supported the DevelopHER awards and other similar events on a smaller scale, in order to encourage more women to get actively involved in tech, and contribute in our own way to reducing the gender gap within the field.
After all, we need to start celebrating these great achievements, alongside all the others that are not widely known yet, and embrace the thriving environment of tech.