Women are relatively less in number in the tech industry, which is considered male-dominated. According to a study by the Kauffman Foundation, women constitute less than 10 percent of venture capitalists and quit the sector at twice a rate of their male counterparts. However, at the same time, it cannot be denied that the women who choose to be in the tech industry have done incredibly well and are continually playing a quintessential role in shaping the tech world.
From Ada Lovelace to Sheryl Sandberg and Juliana Rotich, there are numerous examples of women outshining as an effective global tech leader. These women leaders have contributed in reshaping the development of technology since 1800s. They are the role models for thousands of aspiring women in IT industry.
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If you are an ambitious woman and willing to pursue a career in tech, these global role models can truly inspire you. These women tech leaders hold different roles in the industry, such as CEO, Founder, Engineer and Venture Capitalist.
1. Ada Lovelace
Born in 1815 in London, Ada Lovelace is known as the founder, metaphysician and analyst of Scientific Computing. She became the role model to attract more women in Stem subjects. She wrote the first tailored algorithm for a computer and described algorithms for computing algorithm for Bernoulli numbers and Analytical Engine Functions. She is regarded as the first computer programmer.
2. Sheryl Sandberg
Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Facebook, is one of the most reputed names in the global tech industry. Born in 1969 in Washington, Sheryl joined Facebook in 2008 and became the first woman to be included in the company’s board in 2012. She played a crucial role in assisting the organization to scale to the new heights and expand its digital revenue. The Harvard MBA graduate was earlier a World Bank Economist.
She is an American technology executive, author and activist. In her book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, she emphasized on gender equality and assists professional women to achieve their career objectives. Sheryl Sandberg was ranked #10 in the “Most Powerful Women in Business 2014”.
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3. Kathryn Parsons
One of the leading names in the tech industry in the UK, Kathryn Parsons is the co-founder of a digital learning company named Decoded. Parsons is one of the 50 “Most Inspiring Women in European Technology”. The London based tech star is a multi-award winning entrepreneur who gives emphasis on digital literacy. Decoded has been a great success since its launch in 2011.
According to her, people presume that they need to be a geeky person, outstanding at crunching number, and preferably an engineering background, but all one needs to be a coder is to be creative and good at problem analysis. These are definitely not just male traits.
4. Nicola Mendelsohn
Nicola Mendelsohn is the British born, most influential employee (Vice-President) of Facebook outside the US for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA). She is a popular face among working mothers and lays emphasis on sponsoring women within the organization to prevent losing them in the middle management.
Apart from Facebook, she is also associated with Creative Industries Council, which is a joint forum between the UK government and the creative industry.
5. Ginni Rometty
Ginni Rometty is the CEO, President, and Chairman of IBM. Born in 1957, the American business executive is the first woman to head IBM and holds the position since 2012. She joined IBM in 1981 as a system engineer. Under her supervision, the technology giant has been witnessing a smooth sailing of its wide portfolio of businesses.
Fortune Magazine has ranked Ginni Rometty in “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” for 10 consecutive years. At IBM, she has successfully led to cloud computing, Watson Artificial Intelligence Technology, and programs for data analysis skills and software.
6. Susan Wojcicki
Susan Wojcicki is one of the most powerful women in technology. Born in 1968, the American technology executive is the CEO of YouTube, the largest video platform in the world. In 2014, the Harvard graduate, Google employee No. 16 moved from her role of consigliere for the company’s ads and commerce to take up the new post as CEO of Google owned YouTube. Wojcicki is named on Fortune List of “50 Most Powerful Women in Business”.
7. Dorcas Muthoni
Dorcas Muthoni is the Founder and CEO of Openworld Ltd., a computer software company in Kenya. She started the company at a young age of 24 years. Openworld is now a leading business software services and e-Government firm involved in the delivery of widely used Cloud and Web applications in Africa.
Dorcas, a passionate entrepreneur, is dedicated to using the technology for transforming the African society and has received “the Anita Borg Institute for Women & Technology” Change Agent award in 2008. She is also the founder of AfChix, a regional organization serving as a capacity building initiative and mentorship for women in computing across Africa.
8. Martha Lane Fox
Martha Lane Fox is one of the most reputed British businesswomen and philanthropist. Born in 1973, she stepped in the IT sector with the global consulting firm, Spectrum. Her early interest in the internet resulted in the establishment of Lastminute.com, an online travel and gift business, in 1998. In 2015, Martha Lane delivered the Richard Dimbleby Lecture on “Dot Everyone” theme.
Later in her career, Lane Fox became the most powerful digital campaigner with her role in the government’s Digital Inclusion Championship. She also became the youngest female member of the House of Lords, and a board member of Marks & Spencer, mydeco.com, and Channel 4.
Juliana Rotich is the co-founder of Ushahidi Inc., a non-profit technology company that specializes in developing open and free source software to change the way information flows in the world. Born in Kenya, Juliana has successfully pioneered the web tools to address crowdsourcing crisis information. A strategic advisor and technologist, she is also the co-founder of BRCK Inc., a Kenya-based hardware company involved in the making of BRCK (a mobile Wi-Fi router) and other devices.
Meg Whitman, Hewlett-Packard (HP) CEO is an American corporate executive and a political candidate. Born in 1956, she headed HP in 2011 and was posted as the CEO of the company in 2015. She successfully acquired cloud-based software firm (ConteXtream), Aruba Networks, and data security provider (Voltage Security). The Princeton graduate served The Walt Disney Company and eBay before HP. For presidential campaign 2016, Whitman is co-chair of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s national finance team.