In the realm of technology, we often hear about the men whose innovations shaped our world. But it's time to shine a light on the remarkable women who have been overlooked. Even today only 24% of those working in IT and related digital fields are women. Despite having made significant contributions to technology, most were lost to the footnotes of history. Let's take a moment to remember and honour these trailblazers.
Ada Lovelace (1815–1852): Often referred to as the world's first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace's visionary work laid the foundation for modern computing. Her notes on Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine contained the first algorithm intended to be processed by a machine, making her an essential figure in the history of programming.
Grace Hopper (1906-1992): A true pioneer of computer science, Grace Hopper coined the term "bug" and was a driving force behind the development of COBOL, one of the first high-level programming languages. Her dedication to software development and her relentless pursuit of excellence continue to inspire generations.
Hedy Lamarr (1914-2000): Beyond her Hollywood fame, actress Hedy Lamarr was also an ingenious inventor. She co-developed a frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology that later became a crucial component of wireless communication and Bluetooth technology.
Radia Perlman (1951-present): Often dubbed the "Mother of the Internet," Radia Perlman's work in computer networking laid the groundwork for modern data transmission. Her invention of the spanning-tree protocol was pivotal in ensuring the stability and efficiency of Ethernet networks.
Edith Clarke (1883-1959): An electrical engineer and the first woman to earn an electrical engineering degree from MIT, Edith Clarke made significant advancements in power system analysis and the design of electrical power grids. Her work revolutionised the field and continues to impact our energy systems today.
Katherine Johnson (1918–2020): A pioneering mathematician and physicist known for her invaluable contributions to space exploration and technology. Working at NASA, Johnson's mathematical prowess played a pivotal role in the success of early space missions, including John Glenn's historic orbital flight in 1962. Her precise calculations were critical for trajectory analysis, re-entry angles, and launch windows, ensuring the safety and accuracy of space missions.
These women, among countless others, carved paths in a time when the tech industry was predominantly male dominated. To some degree it still is. Their ground-breaking ideas and determination paved the way for the innovations we benefit from today.
Let us ensure their stories are not forgotten, and continue to amplify the voices of all those who have played a role in shaping the tech landscape. Together, we honour their legacies and inspire the next generation of innovators.