The Women Who Changed the IT World

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We often create a jagged image of women who strive to achieve far-reaching goals and define their accomplishments. Not many people consider the accomplishments as a victory. There are various examples of women who made their mark when the air was thin, and men still outnumbered women.

That is to say, breaking the glass ceiling has never been easy for women, yet you may find many inspiring women who set the sky as their limit and chose tech-related careers.

Did you know women established more than 20 percent of tech startups across the world?

Even though the tech world has predominantly been a male industry, women have played a considerable part in bringing it where it is today. A recent study showed that more than 83 percent of women joined Microsoft in 2016, compared to 18 percent of men . These statistics show that women are becoming a crucial part of everything from entertainment and science to politics and tech.

Let us plunge into the details and find out how the tide is taking a shift.

History of Women Shaping the Tech World

Not so long ago, women in the IT world were practically unseen. Women, particularly minorities, faced massive obstacles to achieving equal rights. They were underpaid, outnumbered, and overlooked. And tech industry, unfortunately, was one of the domains where you could easily spot gender disparity.

Take the example of World War II when the US needs for industrial productions skyrocketed. Many women contributed with men to fulfill the needs and responsibilities on the front line. However, they experienced immeasurable bias.

During WWII, 6 women programmed an electronic computer (ENIAC). Unfortunately, their groundbreaking work in the tech domain went unrecognized for years.

Although these women and many like them did not recognize their own life, their accomplishments helped female generations overcome traditional long-existing gender barriers.

Take a look at how the perception of women changed gradually in the tech world.

A Glimpse of Perception of Women in Tech World

It was not just the lower number of females in technology that posed problems, but how people perceived them was a significant concern. For instance, merely knowing that the programmers were women, people use to make perceptions about their work quality.

There is no denying that this type of bias still exists and is pervasive, but things are changing with an increasing number of women entering the tech industry.

A recent survey of GitHub users found that women-generated programming codes are 78.6 percent of the times more accepted than men generated. That shows that women are not only better to code writers but also can attain a high level of success in this field.

Here is a rundown of some wonderful women who are inspiring role models in the tech industry.

Seven Women who Changed the IT World

Ada Lovelace

A talented daughter of Lord Byron (romantic poet), Ada had an incredible mathematical talent. Her interests and skills in machines and devices led her to develop a working relationship with pioneers like Charles Babbage.

Babbage has contributed to inventing the “Analytical Engine.” It was a complicated device and resembled the modern computer. Ada received the title of the first woman computer programmer because of Ada’s impeccable work on different projects.

Grace Hopper

There is no way you can exclude the contributions of esteemed computer genius Grace M. Hopper. The lady is undeniably famous for her work in computer programming. She was also one of the programmers who worked on the Harvard Mark I.

Grace’s contributions in the tech world led after generations to COBOL development- the programming language computer engineers still use today.

It doesn’t end here; in 1947, Grace recorded the first computer bug in history.

Annie Easley

Annie Easley was a famous rocket scientist at NASA. She also worked as a trailblazer for racial diversity and gender inequality at STEM. Annie was a woman of color and had contributed to plenty of tech programs as a competent scientist.

She inspired many women through her resilient approach and enthusiastic participation in computer programs. The tech genius broke down traditional barriers to help women get equal employment opportunities.

Easley’s fundamental contribution to the Centaur rocket project at NASA set the path for space shuttles in the future.

Hedy Lamarr

Hedy Lemarr is another prominent name in the tech world who received numerous accolades in her career. The film actress and self-taught inventor won a patent award in 1942 for developing a “secret communication system.”

She designed the system with the help of George Antheil, who was a composer. It was a frequency-hopping device that set off the radio-guided torpedoes during the wars. The idea laid the foundation of GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth technology people use today.

Adele Goldberg

Adele Goldberg’s contributions are instrumental in the expansion of the programming language called Smalltalk-80. The idea inspired the development of the first Apple computing system. The concepts of Adele Goldberg’s team scaffold the basis for GUI (graphical user interfaces) you use every day.

Mary Wilkes

A former logic designer and computer programmer, Mary Wikes is famous for the software that she designed for the LINC. It is the earliest system of an interactive computer. Mary used the LINC at a house in 1965 and became the first computer programmer who was a home user. She got recognition for her work at The National Museum of Computing.

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson was a competent mathematician and tech scientist. She worked for NASA for many years. Her trajectory analysis played an essential role in the success of the USA’s first space flight.

Katherine did some complex calculations vital for the space missions, such as the first US orbit mission. John Glenn was leading the mission. He requested Katherine to run the calculations programmed into computers at NASA by hand. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom award- the highest civilian honor by Barack Obama.


In a nutshell, a woman working in the tech industry is not an uncommon phenomenon anymore. The industry has put a lot of effort in the past years to recognize women’s contributions and attract more females in the tech industry.

The tech domain has come a long way. It is taking positive steps to make itself inclusive for women with the right set of tech skills. Thus, the names mentioned above show how tide in the IT world is changing and offering more roles to women.

If you’re a woman that interested in a tech career, check out this leadership guide for women in EdTech.