This International Women’s Day let’s celebrate women in design and technology by taking a look at the revolutionary technological developments of the unsung heroines of the technology world.
These are the incredible women whose innovations, commitment and dedication have changed the digital world as we know it.
In 1953 the first computer software program was created to translate human instructions into computer source code. Rear Admiral Dr. Grace Hopper created this software, a mathematician and physicist who created the software ‘Compiler’ for use in payroll and automatic billing functions.
We use it for our banking, to communicate, to save our photos, to listen to music. WiFi has quite literally changed the way the world works in the last few years. However, without big screen Hollywood actress, and co-creator of a spread-spectrum radio during World War 1, Hedy Lamarr, this wouldn’t be a possibility. The spread-spectrum radio was designed to accurately guide torpedoes via an un-jammable radio signal. Today’s WiFi uses direct spread spectrum transmission in the 2.4GHz band.
In the mid-1800’s Ada Lovelace worked with Charles Babbage to translate the functions of his ‘Analytical Engine’. Sound cryptic? Many people still think so, as Lovelace’s work described how the analytical engine worked using algorithms to generate Bernoulli numbers. Without Lovelace’s work almost 180 years ago, apps and websites of today wouldn’t work.
Remember Tic-Tac-Toe (1979), Video Checkers (1980) and River Raid (1982)? The first female video game designer, Carol Shaw, created the graphics for all these. She was a computer graphics and video game designer for Atari, paving the way that computer games looked and felt during their formative years.
Susan Kare’s typography and iconic graphic design skills helped to turn Apple into the success story it is today. This is because she is responsible for many of the symbols we now use in our daily lives. As the creator of the Happy Mac icon, she designed the screen that greets literally millions of people worldwide every single day. Kare was responsible for making machines feel more like a friend than a piece of equipment.
One more person to add to this list of influential women in technology is Amali de Alwis, CEO of Code First: Girls. Amali received an MBE for her services to diversity and training in the tech industry. But for now, the gender question remains. Let’s hope that in time, coding initiatives like this one are able to address the current gender imbalance.
There may be a widely recognised gender gap when it comes to attracting women in technology today – here are justsome of the reasons why you should hire women in technology positions.
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