Women have contributed significantly to the development of technology and computers and continue to do so. We must pay attention to and recognize the unseen women. However, not because they inquire. However, they serve as role models so that many girls and women can follow in their footsteps on an equal footing and so that everyone is aware that gender is irrelevant when it comes to working and making a positive impact on the world via knowledge.
History Of Ada Lovelace Day
The second Tuesday of every October marks Ada Lovelace Day, a day founded in 2009 by technologist Suw Charman-Anderson, to celebrate the achievements of women in Stem careers (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), and was created in memory of one in particular: Ada Lovelace, the first computer programmer.
Ada Lovelace Day (ALD) is an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). It aims to increase the profile of women in STEM and, in doing so, create new role models who will encourage more girls into STEM careers and support women already working in STEM.
“Girls are capable of doing everything men are capable of doing. Sometimes they have more imagination than men”
- Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician
This is a curated list of Inspiring female role models in STEM.
There are countless women who have made significant contributions to the field of STEM; the list is not enormous. We could go on and on!
1. Ada Lovelace: The World's First Computer Programmer
Ada Lovelace, who was born in 1815, worked with inventor Charles Babbage to create the Analytical Engine, a general-purpose computer. Lovelace published what is now referred to as a computer program to produce Bernoulli numbers in 1843. Babbage had previously developed pieces of programs, but Lovelace's was the most comprehensive, full, and first published.
More importantly, Lovelace was the first person to foresee the creative potential of the Engine. She explained how it could do so much more than merely calculate numbers, and could potentially create music and art, given the right programming and inputs. Her vision of computing's possibilities was unmatched by any of her peers and went unrecognised for a century. Read our biography of Lovelace to find out more!
She has been called the first computer programmer.
2.Grace Hopper: The mother of Computing and the creator of the term bug
Undeniably famous in the tech world, Rear Admiral Grace M. Hopper was an esteemed computer scientist and one of the first computer programmers to work on the Harvard Mark I. One of the first three modern “programmers,” Hopper is best known for her trailblazing contributions to the development of computer languages. Known as irreverent, sharp-tongued, and brilliant, she enjoyed long and influential careers in both the U.S. Navy and the private sector. Her work led to the development of COBOL, an early programming language we is still used to this day. In 1947, she recorded the worlds first ever real computer bug, and it is also said that she coined the phrase: “it is often easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission.” Grace Brewster Murray Hopper was a computer pioneer and naval officer.
3. Hedy Lamarr: The Inventor of WiFi
Hedy Lamarr was an Austrian-American actress and inventor who pioneered the technology that would one day form the basis for today's WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth communication systems.
Lamarr wanted to join the Inventors' Council in Washington, DC, where she thought she would be of better service to the war effort. Lamarr's path to inventing the cornerstone of Wi-Fi began when she heard about the Navy's difficulties with radio-controlled torpedoes
“The brains of people are more interesting than the looks I think,” Hollywood actress and inventor Hedy Lamarr said in 1990, 10 years before she passed.
The patent was granted in 1942; over 60 years before wi-fi would be widely adopted around the world. It wasn’t put into place in World War II; in fact, Lamarr was told she’d be better off selling war bonds. The technology first appeared on US Navy ships in 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis.
In 1997 she won the Electric Frontier Foundation Pioneer Award and was the first woman to win the Bulbie Gnass Spirit of Achievement Award, called the ‘Oscars of Inventing’, given to those whose achievements significantly contribute to society. In 2014 she was posthumously inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fam
4. Annie Easley: The NASA Rocket Scientist
Annie Easley was a computer scientist, rocket scientist, and mathematician based in America. She worked for the Lewis Research Center, which is now Glenn Research Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. She worked for the Lewis Research Center (now Glenn Research Center) of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and its predecessor, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). She was a leading member of the team which developed software for the Centaur rocket stage, and was one of the first African-Americans to work as a computer scientist at NASA.
Her 34-year career included developing and implementing computer code that analyzed alternative power technologies, supported the Centaur high-energy upper rocket stage, determined solar, wind and energy projects, identified energy conversion systems and alternative systems to solve energy problems.
5. Mary Wilkes: The First Home Computer User
Mary is a former computer programmer and logic designer. She is best known for designing the software for the LINC, one of the earliest systems of an interactive personal computer.
In 1965, she designed and used a computer in her home, and is usually considered to be the first home computer user. This claim is dependent on the definition of a "home computer." In 1965, Wilkes left MIT and began working at the Computer Systems Laboratory at Washington University in St. Louis.
The critical thinking abilities, problem-solving skills, and creativity that she strengthened during her years as a computer programmer, definitely helped her do a more holistic and comprehensive job as a lawyer.
6. Adele Goldberg: The Inspiration For GUI
The Inspiration For GUI. Adele was instrumental in the development of the programming language Smalltalk-80, which inspired the very first Apple computer.
Adele is said to have referred to the decision to show Steve Jobs Smalltalk as a way to “give away the kitchen sink”. She was probably right! The concepts that Adele and her team set in motion became the basis for graphical user interfaces (GUI) we use every day.
She was probably right! The concepts that Adele and her team set in motion became the basis for graphical user interfaces (GUI) we use every day.
Adele Goldberg, the inspiration for Apple desktops.
7. Radia Perlman: The Mother Of The Internet
Nicknamed “Mother of the Internet”, Radia’s invention of the algorithm behind the Spanning Tree Protocol (STP), was instrumental in making today's internet possible. Her work made a huge impact on the way networks self-organize and move data, and put the basic rules of internet traffic in place. Radia has delivered keynote speeches across the world, and is still a computer programmer and engineer for Dell EMC.
Engineer and mathematician Radia Perlman was one of very few women involved in process at that time. Her invention of the algorithm behind the Spanning Tree Protocol solved a challenging information routing problem and earned her the moniker “Mother of the Internet.”
8. Katherine Johnson: The NASA Mathematician
Katherine’s trajectory analysis as a mathematician for NASA was crucial to the success of the first ever US space flight. Her complex manual calculations were also critical in future space missions, including the first American in orbit, John Glenn. Katherine ran the numbers programmed into the computer at NASA for the flight by hand, at the request of Glenn. Katherine remembers him saying “if she says they’re good... “then I’m ready to go.” At age 97, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honour, by President Obama.
Katherine Johnson, the trailblazing NASA mathematician, wins the Hubbard Medal for her calculations that made space exploration possible. Long before today's technology was invented, Katherine Johnson was known as a computer. She calculated flight trajectories, by hand, for the United States space program
9. Karen Sparck-Jones: The Pioneer in Information Science
Karen was a pioneer in information science, and her work is some of the most highly cited in her field. Her development of Inverse Document Frequency (IDF), a weighting factor which evaluates how important a word is to a document, is now standard in web search engines and used to rank a document’s relevance to a search query. She received the highly acclaimed Lovelace Medal in 2007
Ms. Karen Spärck Jones’ was a British computer scientist who was a vocal advocate for women in STEM specifically relating to computing and technology. She was responsible for laying the groundwork for the types of information retrieval we use today, which is the technology that underlies our most modern search engines like Google, Alexa, and Bing.
10. Elizabeth Feinler: The Original Search Engine
Elizabeth Feinler pioneered and managed first the ARPANET, and then the Defense Data Network (DDN), network information centers (NIC) under contract to the Department of Defense (DoD). Both of these early networks were the forerunners of today’s Internet.
Her group developed the first Internet “yellow-” and “white-page” servers as well as the first query-based network host name and address (WHOIS) server. Her group managed the Host Naming Registry for the Internet from 1972 until 1989. As part of this effort, she and her group developed the top-level domain-naming scheme of .com, .edu, .gov, .mil, .org, and .net, which are still in use today.