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5 Women in Technology That Inspire Wizewomen | Women’s History Month 2022

5 Women in Technology That Inspire Wizewomen | Women’s History Month 2022

Diversity in technology is critical as it enables organizations to create innovative products and deliver successful outcomes. A report from McKinsey highlights how companies with a greater representation of women are more likely to outperform the competition, hire better talent, and retain employees. Despite this, males currently dominate the world of technology and computer science – with women occupying an estimated 49.6% of the world population and only 27% of the technology jobs

However, this hasn’t always been the case. Women held the majority of tech jobs in the early days of computer programming. Still, stereotypes about the field quickly shifted in the 50s and 60s, weeding out many new women applicants. Unfortunately, women received very little recognition for their accomplishments, and history made it easy to forget their instrumental contributions. 

Even now, it can be challenging for women in tech to pursue and advance their dream careers. Inequitable compensation, skepticism, and work-life balance are among the many issues still present in the workplace. In spite of these obstacles, women have been making groundbreaking innovations for nearly 300 years – like developing the first computer language, laying the foundation for Wi-Fi, and calculating the first flight path for NASA’s mission to space. These extraordinary women leaders deserve to have their stories told and contributions celebrated. 

To commemorate Women’s History Month this year, we’ve asked Wizewomen to select women throughout technology history whose legacies inspire them in their tech careers. We’ll cover women from the 19th century who invented some of the first information technology tools to current leaders contributing to modern technology and paving the way for the future. Join us as we honor the impact they’ve made on the advancement of technology and the impact they continue to make on future generations of female tech talent.

1. Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace was an English mathematician and writer. She is most known for her work with computer programming and is coined as the “First Computer Programmer.”

Wizeline Software Engineer Maritza Esparza Hernández writes, “She was one of the first people to imagine how we could use computers – not only for calculations but for creating music, capturing images, and other infinite applications.” Her confidence, intelligence, and forward-thinking led her to become one of the most influential women of her time. 

Ada worked closely with mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage on his computing machine called the Analytical Engine. She discovered that the computer was capable of much more than just pure calculations, theorizing about computer codes to handle letters and symbols and the ability for computers to repeat instructions – later coined as looping. In 1843, she published her notes in an article with what’s known as the first algorithm to be carried out by a machine.

Unfortunately, like many women in the early 1800s, her work received little attention while alive, but her legacy continues. She inspired many generations of inventors, including Alan Turing, and continues to inspire many women in tech like Wizeline’s Maritza. In the late 1990s, the U.S. Department of Defense named a new computer language, “Ada,” to honor her. Then, in 2009, the second Tuesday of October was designated as “Ada Lovelace Day” to raise the profile of women in STEM fields.

2. Hedy Lamarr

You may know of Hedy Lamarr as the famous actress who starred in movies like Samson and Delilah and White Cargo, but her recognition goes far beyond simply being a movie star. Many call her the “Mother of Modern Wi-Fi” and recognize her for her inventions that led to modern satellite and cellphone technology.

Hedy Lamarr’s ability to maintain a career while also pursuing her innovative ideas is why Giovanna Ponce Castillo, Software Engineer at Wizeline, finds her inspiring. Giovanna states, “She was a self-taught woman that was able to balance her career as an actress and her inventor hobbies. Her work ultimately led her to develop the principles of what is now Bluetooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi.”

Hedy’s innovative mindset began when she was five years old and reassembled music boxes for fun. She spent most of her acting career working on inventions between takes on set and assisted businessman and pilot Howard Hughes on a new wing design for his planes. Her most important innovation was right before World War II when she contributed to a new communication system designed to “frequency hop” amongst radio waves and prevent their interception with one another. Her invention, known as “spread-spectrum technology,” was patented in 1942 but was not implemented by the U.S. Navy as it was intended.

The rejection by the Navy was frustrating, and her inventive genius received zero recognition by the public until three years before her death. In 1997, she and her co-inventor, George Antheil, were awarded the Pioneer Award from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and she became the first woman to receive the Invention Convention’s Bulbie Gnass Spirit Achievement Award. Later, she was inducted into the National Inventors Hall in 2014 and continues to impact the world of Bluetooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi with her frequency-hopping technology.

3. Annie Easly

Annie Easly was nothing short of remarkable. She was a mathematician, computer scientist, and rocket scientist, born in Birmingham, Alabama, in a community where segregation hindered the success and opportunities for African-American children. Raised by a single mother who always encouraged education, Annie received two Mathematics degrees and completed numerous specialized courses through NASA. Among the many things Annie is known for, she’s regarded as a pioneer in space technology and trailblazer for women in STEM.

When considering the women who impacted her career the most, Wizeline QA Software Engineer Jessica Loyola states that Annie was “not only brilliant and worked at NASA, but also encouraged other women to study and stand up for themselves.” Similarly, Wizeline Software Engineer Flor Dulcinea Peña Campos states, “She broke down gender and racial diversity barriers at NASA. She is an inspiration to keep going even if the circumstances seem adverse.”

During her 34 years with NASA, Annie famously worked on the Centaur rocket – developing its battery technology with energy-conversion systems and alternative power technologies. This same technology was used in early hybrid vehicles and has fueled dozens of future satellites and space vehicles, including the launch of Cassini to Saturn. Annie inspired millions of people through her participation in outreach programs and her role as Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Counselor at NASA. Despite the discrimination she regularly faced in the workplace, she focused on encouraging young females and minority students to pursue a career in STEM.

4. Margaret Hamilton

Margaret Hamilton is an American computer scientist, systems engineer, and business owner known for her development of the flight software used for NASA’s Apollo program and for coining the term “software engineer,” which she used to describe her work. 

As a software engineer herself, Wizeline’s Grethel Bello Cagnant can’t help but feel inspired by Margaret’s contributions to the engineering field. Grethel awes over Margaret’s accomplishments, saying, “She was the director of the Software Engineering Division of the MIT Instrumentation Laboratory, worked at NASA to help get humans to the moon, published more than 130 papers, proceedings, and reports, and over sixty projects.”

Throughout her career, Margaret worked on many software projects – from writing software that identifies enemy aircraft to leading a team that developed the software for the guidance and control of Apollo missions and studying software that detects errors and recovers information in computer crashes. Her entrepreneurial spirit also led her to co-found a company called Higher Order Software (HOS) and establish her own company, Hamilton Technologies.

Margaret’s legacy lives on with every person employed as a software engineer. Before coining the discipline, software development was not seen as a science or respected technical discipline. Margaret’s concern with legitimizing the field paved the way for one of the most well-respected jobs in the industry. Hamilton later received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama for her work with NASA’s Apollo Moon missions.

5. Susan Kare

Susan Kare is a notable contemporary American artist and graphic designer. She is considered by many in the technology industry as a pioneer in graphical user interface and pixel art, having worked on creative and design projects for Apple, NeXT, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, and Sony. If you’ve ever clicked on a computer icon on your Mac, typed with the Chicago typeface, used the command key on your keyboard, or opened an app on your smartphone, you’ve benefited from Susan’s work. Many people say she is the “woman who gave the Macintosh a smile.” 

Alejandra Pedroza, a Senior Technical Writer at Wizeline, talks about how Susan has inspired her career in technology, saying, “Susan has been an important lead in the tech industry since the early 80s. Besides being a woman raising her voice within an environment full of masculine stereotypes, she brought a human and artistic face to the computational systems through design. I admire her contributions and the impact of her work, which has been used by millions of people in Apple, Microsoft, and IBM systems.”

With zero experience working with computer graphics, Susan was able to land a job through a high school friend at Apple Computer in 1982. Her official title was “Macintosh Artist,” and she used her graphic design experience and deep knowledge of art history to excel in the new discipline. Her long list of creations at Apple spanned from producing multiple new font sets, including the Chicago, monoscape Monaco, and Geneva typefaces, to designing the Command key on keyboards and the Happy Mac icon on the welcome screen.

Her work drove the visual language for Apple’s original graphical design and is recognized for helping to make Macintosh one of the most successful computing platforms of all time. Susan continues to serve as an inspiration to UX designers and all women looking to break into the male-dominated technology field and excel at it.

What we can do to close the gender gap

The gender gap is shrinking every day, but there’s still a long way to go. As employees working in tech roles or business owners leading tech companies, it is our collective responsibility to acknowledge and address the issues that still exist in the industry. What exactly can you do to help? Forbes suggests four action items we can all take: 

  • Encourage women in STEM fields
  • Listen to all ideas
  • Call out biases
  • Support community efforts

Here at Wizeline, diversity & inclusion is threaded throughout our DNA and values. We believe in an open environment of support, equal opportunity, and well-being for all of our employees, irrespective of gender, nationality, ethnicity, age, religion, or sexual orientation. We know that a diverse and inclusive workplace allows all employees to achieve their full potential. This belief is put into action in our hiring and compensation practices and with the programs held through our D&I office. 

We created Wizeline Academy to live our mission of making technology training accessible for all and empowering aspiring designers and engineers to launch their careers in tech. Our Women in Leadership Certification program provides women with the tools, frameworks, and practices to navigate workplace challenges and to further their ability to lead, negotiate, and influence with impact. We are also participants in Google’s #IamRemarkable workshop series, which empowers women to boost their confidence and celebrate their accomplishments. 

In 2021, we are proud to have hosted 950 women across all Wizeline Academy programs and graduated 189 women from the Women in Leadership Certification program. 

We understand that every industry is better with women in it, and we’re committed to doing all we can to amplify the voices of women in tech. 


By Courtney Duprey, Senior Content Specialist, Wizeline
By Courtney Duprey, Senior Content Specialist, Wizeline

Courtney Duprey

Posted by Courtney Duprey on March 25, 2022