Women Using Technology to Make a Difference

Introduction

Women’s empowerment has been a long, winding road, especially in the tech industry. After being interviewed on a podcast by Juleen Moreno, I realized how much women have been affected by technology. Juleen Moreno is the CEO / Founder of Mom is Always Write Media Inc. She is using her writing to break stigmas, shift narratives, and continues to use her voice to create a blog for mothers with children diagnosed with autism. She has inspired many women to be a boss and I will forever be grateful to know her and call upon her for advice. Juleen has also helped me become more comfortable with doing interviews and opening up about my journey and how its led me where I am today. She’s a women who isn’t afraid to speak her mind and is helping others to do the same! This has lead me to look back on how women were treated in history and what they are accomplishing today. Many say the future is female, and we want to celebrate women who made and are making sure their roars are heard.

How Women Survived

Women’s survival has depended on a variety of factors. Some women, like Zelda Fitzgerald, were forced to see their work published by their husbands (Zelda famously wrote in the New York Tribune that she “recognized a portion of an old diary of mine which mysteriously disappeared shortly after my marriage” before the publication of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and the Damned) while others carved their own path as courtesans, like Veronica Franco, Madame du Barry and Cora Pearl. These women are well cemented in our society today—with the works of Franco as a poet being heavily studied and du Barry inspiring a successful Broadway show and movie in the 30s. Others influenced important political and company decisions, like David O. Selznick’s story editor, Kay Brown, who pushed for her boss to buy the rights to Gone with the Wind in 1936. Finally, some women went completely on their own, determined for their work to receive recognition, like the Bronte sisters.

Female Pioneers 

Women have pioneered the tech industry for years, and it would take several books to even begin to cover a sliver of the amount of women who have contributed to the tech industry, but here are five names we think you should remember:

Alice Guy – Alice is the first female director in recorded history as well as the first woman to own a film studio. By 1906, she moved to the US from France and was making a film a week, extremely impressive when you consider the fact she’d made 1,000 films before her move. 

Ada Lovelace – Ada worked closely with Charles Babbage by creating the algorithms for Babbage’s Analytical Engine, an 1800s computer!

Dorothy Arzner – In 1943, Dorothy was the only female director in Hollywood, making a total of 27 films between 1927 until her retirement in 1943. She was the first woman to make a sound film and the first woman to join the Director’s Guild of America.

Grace Hopper – An American computer scientist, Grace was one of the first programmers for the Harvard Mark I computer as well as the inventor of machine-independent programming languages.

Hedy Lamarr – As beautiful as she was intelligent, in the 1940s during WWII, Hedy co-invented the technology we use today for wi-fi.

Allowing Women to Rise

There’s no single time period where women were allowed to rise—it’s been a tough fight! Women weren’t guaranteed any property in divorce settlements until 1848, and it would take almost 100 years for most women to be able to file for divorce without facing societal prejudices. During this time, women also worked hard to worked for years to get the vote in the United States before finally being granted the right in 1920. In the 1960s, feminists like Gloria Steinem pushed for female equality via second wave feminism. Women in the tech industry have faced steeper challenges, with the technology industry commonly being male-dominated; however, women are breaking barriers every day.

Most Powerful Women in Technology Today

Forbes recently released their top 100 women in tech, and we wish we could give a complete profile on each and every single one of them. These are some of the women to watch right now:

Aarti Ramakrishnan – Co-Founder and Chief of Operations of Singapore-based Crayon Data, Ramakrishnan AI company is focused on digital personalization.

Amy Hedrick – Cleanbox Technology Inc.’s CEO and Co-founder has focused her company on creating a smart system that decontaminates and dries VR and AR headsets.

Donna Fenn – pSemi Corporations Vice President of Human Resources heads human resources for over 600 employees around the globe.

Joan Ross – CIO of InsightCyber, Ross worked up from working on the customer side to the developmental by bringing customer personas to InsightCyber’s development team.

Laura Boccanfuso – Founder and CEO of Van Robotics, Boccanfuso’s smart robot (ABii) personalizes K-5 math and reading lessons into a fun social activity for children.

Women Creations

Women inventors have faced a long road to getting their name on their creations. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that women could even get a patent in their name. However, we do know of some female inventors over the years who have created a plethora of inventions that are still used today. These are some of our favorites:

Alphabet Blocks – Adeline D.T. Whitney

Circular Saw – Tabitha Babbitt

Electric Hot Water Heater – Ida Forbes

Dishwasher – Josephine Cochran 

Fire Escape – Anna Connelly

Kevlar – Stephanie Kwolek 

Life Raft – Maria Beaseley

Windshield Wiper – Mary Anderson

Street-cleaning Machine – Florence Parpart

Rotary Engine – Margaret Knight

How The Internet Has Helped

The Internet has helped women in a variety of ways, from education to the workplace. Education is now more readily available than ever before, and with more and more colleges and universities offering degrees online, education is now much more accessible for women than ever before. As far as the workplace, women are more likely to find jobs—and get promoted within. Online assessments allow employers to look at qualifications without sex being a deciding factor. Finally, women are able to use the internet to raise awareness about concerns they may hold about their employers, meaning companies face more pressure to treat female employees equally.

Conclusion

Women have had a long and complicated history in the workforce, but technology is making it easier than ever for women to find their place in the workforce. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these female pioneers, and we look forward to seeing what you’ll accomplish in the future.

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