Are you ready to be inspired by women in technology this International Women's Day? In this article, I celebrate the critical role that women have played in shaping the digital world, while highlighting the urgent need for greater gender equality in the tech sector.
As a working mother in the field of design and innovation, I am acutely aware of the challenges that women face in the technology sector. The statistics speak for themselves: women make up only 22% of AI workers globally, and 44.2% of AI systems demonstrate gender bias. These numbers highlight the urgent need for greater gender equality in tech.
As we celebrate International Women’s Day under the theme DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality, it is essential to acknowledge the contributions that women have made to the digital world. Despite the historic exclusion and discrimination they have faced, women have played a critical role in shaping technology as we know it today.
But there is still much work to be done to create a more inclusive and equitable future.One major barrier to women's participation in tech is the persistent gender gap in digital access. This gap prevents women from unlocking technology’s full potential, and their underrepresentation in STEM education and careers only exacerbates the problem.
Additionally, the threat of online gender-based violence forces women out of the digital spaces they do occupy, further limiting their opportunities.However, digital technology also represents a powerful tool for the empowerment of women and girls.
With gender-responsive digital learning and tech-facilitated sexual and reproductive healthcare, we have the potential to eliminate disparities and inequalities in unprecedented ways. But we must act quickly and effectively to make this a reality.
This International Women's Day, we must call on governments, activists, and the private sector to work together to create a safer, more inclusive, and more equitable digital world. We have an opportunity to create a better future for all humanity and all life on Earth, but we must take action now.
By sharing visuals and messaging from the IWD social media package and tuning in to the UN Observance of International Women’s Day, we can join forces to make a difference.
Let's power on in our efforts to create a better world for women and girls everywhere.
Women have played a vital role in the development and progress of technology throughout history. Here are just a few examples of women who have made significant contributions in the tech sector:
1. Ada Lovelace: Often referred to as the world's first computer programmer, Lovelace wrote the first algorithm designed to be processed by a machine. She collaborated with Charles Babbage, the inventor of the Analytical Engine, a precursor to modern computers.
2. Grace Hopper: Known as the "Queen of Software," Hopper was a computer scientist and a pioneer in the field of computer programming. She is credited with developing the first compiler, a program that translates source code into machine code.
3. Hedy Lamarr: Lamarr was an actress and inventor who co-invented a frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology that laid the foundation for modern wireless communication. Her invention is now used in everything from Wi-Fi to GPS.
4. Radia Perlman: Perlman is a computer scientist who is best known for inventing the spanning tree algorithm, which is used to prevent loops in computer networks. She has been dubbed the "Mother of the Internet" for her contributions to network protocols.
5. Reshma Saujani: Saujani is the founder of Girls Who Code, an organization that works to close the gender gap in technology by teaching girls to code. She has been named one of Fortune's "World's Greatest Leaders" and is a strong advocate for women's participation in tech.
6. Cindy Gallup: Gallup is the founder and CEO of the Gallup Organization, which is focused on using data to create better outcomes for individuals, communities, and organizations. She has been a leader in the field of market research and analytics and has helped numerous companies leverage data to make better decisions.
7. Ping Fu: Fu is a computer scientist and entrepreneur who co-founded Geomagic, a company that specializes in 3D modeling and scanning. She has been recognized for her contributions to the field of digital manufacturing and was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Inc. magazine.
8. Dr Catriona Wallace: Wallace is a businesswoman and entrepreneur who has founded several successful companies, including Flamingo AI, an AI-powered customer experience platform. She is a recognized leader in the field of artificial intelligence and has been named one of the Top 9 Female Entrepreneurs to Watch by Forbes.
9. Cathie Reid: Reid is a healthcare entrepreneur and co-founder of Icon Group, a cancer care provider that uses technology to improve patient outcomes. She has been recognized for her contributions to healthcare innovation and was named Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young.
10. Frances Valintine is the founder of The Mind Lab, more recently AcademyEx an education company that specializes in digital and collaborative learning, and Tech Futures Lab, which offers courses and training in emerging technologies. She is a leading voice in digital education and the future of work, and has received numerous awards for her contributions to the field.
LAST but not least:
11. Melanie Perkins: Perkins is the co-founder and CEO of Canva, a graphic design platform that allows users to create everything from social media graphics to presentations. Canva has become a hugely popular tool for individuals and businesses alike, and Perkins' leadership has been instrumental in its success.Melanie Perkins has been recognized as one of the world's most successful female entrepreneurs, and her work with Canva has helped to democratize access to design tools and create new opportunities for designers and non-designers alike. Her leadership and vision have been a driving force behind Canva's growth and success, and she serves as an inspiration to women around the world who are working to make their mark in the tech industry.
These women and many others have helped pave the way for the progress and innovation that we see in the tech sector today. We owe them a debt of gratitude and must continue to work towards a more inclusive and equitable future for all.