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3 Women Who Changed The Tech World

Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, and the list goes on… You probably know all these names. All these people changed the tech world as we know it today. But do you see something else they have in common? – They are all men. Where are the women? If I would ask you now – how many influential women in tech could you name?

We often see how machines are operated by men and it’s no secret that the tech industry is dominated by men. More than 90% of software developers identified as male in 2021, and fewer than 6% identified as female. 

This is due to many factors: Back then was very hard for women to pursue their education free of discrimination and even be admitted into the STEM field (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) – which only became legal in the 1970s.

What’s more: women get significantly less paid (by 28%) compared to their male counterparts and receive fewer promotions than men despite being just as qualified.

But don’t let these disheartening stats get you down! At least we haven’t forgotten that women contributed to a lot of programming languages and helped change the male-dominated field of technology. 

Women’s contributions are frequently left out or unheard of, but we want to tell their stories:

Ada Lovelace – The World’s First Computer Programmer


Here you see Disney’s real life Snow White, or at least that’s who I thought about first, when I saw this picture of Ada Lovelace. But what’s far more interesting about the woman you see in the portrait, is her intelligence.

Lovelace was an extremely talented mathematician and often ahead of her time.

She was the daughter of the famous British poet Lord Byron. So that Ada doesn’t become as “dreamy” and “unworldly” as her father, Ada Lovelace’s mother insisted that Ada was taught science and mathematics. 

But the classic role model of her time saw women more as housewives and mothers. At that time women did not have access to British libraries! That’s why Ada later sent her husband to the libraries to copy the information for her.

Her mathematical talent shone through in her early life, and her skills and interest in machines lead to a working relationship with Charles Babbage. 

Babbage was the inventor of the “Analytical Engine”, a complicated device that was never actually created, but resembled the elements of a modern computer. Ada Lovelace was the first to recognize  that a computer-like device had applications beyond pure calculation and published the first algorithm intended to be carried out by such a machine. As a result of her work on the project, Ada is often referred to as the “world’s first computer programmer”. She even predicted that one day computers will be able to display music, text or images. Pretty cool, huh?

But science soon became primarily a “hobby” for her, because she also was a housewife and mother of three children. Much to her sorrow, she had little time for research and died in 1852 at the young age of 37.⁣

“That brain of mine is something more than merely mortal; as time will show.”

Ada Lovelace

And it did. It was Lovelace’s notes on the Analytical Engine that Alan Turing used as a form of inspiration for his work on the first modern computer in the 1940s. Although many of her achievements were not properly recognized until the 1950s, a programming language is named after her – ADA.

She is one of the famous women in technology and every second Tuesday in October is known as Ada Lovelace Day to celebrate the achievements of women in STEM careers.

Hedy Lamarr – The Inventor Of WIFI


An actress develops a secret technique against the Nazis. Sounds like a Hollywood movie, but it’s the real story of Hedy Lamarr. Her real name was Hedwig Kiesler and she descended from a Jewish family in Vienna. She enjoyed a good artistic education and at the age of 18 she played a leading role alongside Heinz Rühmann. But in 1933 she caused a scandal with a nude orgasm scene in the film “Ecstasy”. Very scandalous at the time! The film was banned and Hedwig’s husband forbade her from further shooting. Her husband is generally considered a domineering man and did business with the Nazis. That’s why Hedwig left him after just four years of marriage.

Soon she is signed by the US film studio MGM, given the stage name Hedy Lamarr, and became a Hollywood star. But Hedy, marketed by MGM as “the most beautiful woman in the world”, never wanted to be reduced to her beauty. Quite right! 

“Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid.”

Hedy Lamarr

She knew she could do more than just look good!

Driven by her hatred of the Nazis and her enthusiasm for technology, she wanted to help defeat the Nazis with new military technology. She, along with another inventor (named George Antheil), created a system to control torpedoes that was immune to jamming. Initially, few people took the actress seriously and the military rejected the invention with a smile. Her patent eventually expired without being used in the real world. 

Later, during the Cuba crisis, the technology was used after all and is used today in many of our essential technologies, including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS.

Although she died in 2000, Lamarr was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for the development of her frequency hopping technology in 2014.

Annie Easley – Computer Scientist, Mathematician, And Rocket Scientist


Computer scientist Annie Easley was not one to run away when things got uncomfortable, and she often did so in a world of racism and general societal discrimination against women. And thank goodness Annie Jean Easley was so confident!

Annie was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1933 and attended Xavier University, where she majored in pharmacy. Shortly after graduating from college, she met her husband and they moved to Cleveland. It was here that Annie’s life changed for the better. Since there was no pharmacy school nearby, he applied to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA, NASA’s predecessor) and within two weeks began working there. Easley began her career as a “human computer”, performing calculations for researchers. She was one of only four African Americans who worked at NACA and later developed her skills to become a programmer. 34 years later, she had contributed to numerous programs as a computer scientist, inspired many through her enthusiastic participation in outreach programs, and broke down barriers as equal employment opportunity counselor. Easley’s important work on the Centaur rocket project while at NASA helped make future space travel possible.

She is known for being one of the famous women in technology for encouraging women and people of color to study and enter STEM fields.

Her work contributed to the 1997 Cassini Probe, and she also worked to help other African Americans register to vote. She even studied battery-powered vehicles and developed and implemented the code that led to the development of batteries used in hybrid cars long before companies like Tesla and Rivian were household names.

Annie J. Easley died in 2011 at the age of 78. Her legacy continues to inspire countless students to make an impact in the STEM field.

“Don’t give up on it. Just stick with it. Don’t listen to people who always tell you, ‘It’s hard, and walk away from it.’” 

Annie Easley

Share These Women’s Stories

This list is not extensive; there are countless women who have made outstanding contributions to the field of STEM:

Grace Hopper: The Esteemed Computer Scientist, Mary Wilkes: The First Home Computer User, Adele Goldberg: The Inspiration For GUI, Radia Perlman: The Mother Of The Internet, Elizabeth Feinler: The Original Search Engine, … – and we could go on and on!

If you also think that women deserve more credit in the history of science, comment down below who you want to hear about next! 

And share this post to tell the stories of these incredible women!


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