In honour of International Women’s Day this week, we’re looking back at some of the amazing technological achievements made by women throughout history. We’ve all heard of Newton, Einstein and Jobs – but what about Lovelace, Lamar and Bryant? Read on to find out about 10 women whose landmark work in science, engineering and mathematics contributed to the technology you use today.
1. Ada Lovelace (1843)
Ada Lovelace was a gifted mathematician in the 1840’s who wrote instructions for the first programmable computer along with friend, Charles Babbage. Lovelace’s series of instructions are used in most computers today.
A world without computers; something most of us could never imagine. We hereby label Lovelace the first ever Techie!
2. Florence Parpart (1914)
Not only did Florence Parpart invent the modern electric refrigerator in 1914, she was also a great marketer. Parpart was one of the first female entrepreneurs to be recognised for her work, overseeing both the marketing and production of her patented refrigerators.
We owe some thanks to Parpart because without her great mind, Hisense wouldn’t be here today!
3. Edith Clarke (1921)
Edith Clarke was one of the first female professional electrical engineers. In her early career she struggled to break through in her field, told by her professors that “ women were not supposed to be doing things like engineering”. Pushing against this, Clarke went on to invent the Clarke Calculator in 1921.
Edith’s career paved the way for generations of female engineers.The Clarke Calculator also won her a spot in the Inventors Hall of Fame alongside Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla – take that, professors.
4. Hedy Lamarr (1942)
Where would we be without Wifi? Well, we have Hedy Lamarr to thank. Lamarr started out as a glamorous Hollywood actress in the 1930’s but soon became bored and started exploring technology, to impressive result. During the Second World War, Lamarr co-developed a radio guidance system using frequency-hopping technology to help stop radio-guided weapons avoid detection or jamming.
Lamarr’s work is still used today in Wifi and Bluetooth technology. That Spotify playlist you listen to from your phone on weekend road trips? All thanks to Hedy.
5. Katherine Johnson (1969)
Space scientist, physicist and mathematician; Katherine Johnson is one seriously impressive figure in tech. Johnson worked at NASA, contributing to their space program where she helped calculate the trajectory for Project Mercury and the Apollo 11 flight to the moon.
Without Johnson’s work, Apollo 11 may never have reached the moon. To infinity, and beyond!
6. Carol Shaw (1982)
Carol Shaw was one of the first female video game designers and worked at two prominent publishers, Atari and Activision. Whilst working at Activision, Shaw developed the popular game, River Raid. Shaw also developed the 3D version of Tic-Tac-Toe (a great procrastination tool, not that we’ve played it or anything…)
Alongside Edith Clarke and Katherine Johnson, Shaw paved the way for women in a heavily male-dominated field. Thanks to her work, many young women looking to get into design and programming have a role model to aspire to!
7. Gwynne Shotwell (2010)
President and COO of SpaceX, Shotwell is responsible for the daily operations and growth of the tech giant. She contributed to the success of two cargo resupply missions to astronauts aboard the space station for NASA. To add to her already impressive resume, she has raised over $350,00 in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) scholarships.
Shotwell may not be responsible for tech you’re using today – but chances are, your great-grandkids living on Mars will probably benefit!
8. Sheryl Sandberg (2008)
Where do we start with Sheryl Sandberg? Her inspiring resume includes experience at big name players from Google, U.S Secretary to Facebook. Sandberg is also the best-selling author of Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, where she shares personal stories and advice on gender differences within the workplace.
Sandberg is an inspiration to many, and her work has encouraged many women to achieve their personal and professional goals.
9. Kimberly Bryant (2011)
Kimberly Bryant is the founder of Black Girls Code, a program that teaches young women all about coding, developing mobile apps and learning computer programming.
Bryant makes it into our top influential women list because of her determination to increase the number of women in technology fields and helping empower and encourage them along the way.
10. Susan Wojcicki (2014)
Named the most powerful woman in advertising, we couldn’t go past Susan Wojcicki to close out our list. Wojcicki spent time at Google as the Marketing Manager where she successfully lead the $1.65 billion purchase of Youtube. Wojcicki then became the CEO of Youtube, where she contributed to the increase in female employees with in the company.
Move over Zuckerberg – Wojcicki is kicking butt in social media! As to her legacy… we’d say ‘watch this space’…
Who do you admire in this list? Is there someone you want to shout out this International Women’s Day? Let us know on social media @HisenseAU.
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