WHM: Important women in technology

Ketan Narotam, Police Reporter

Whenever we think of technology innovators, we often think of computer hardware, software, and internet pioneers such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg. No one can deny the contributions these men made to the world of computing, but what about women? 

According to a 2018 study, women made up only 25% of the tech industry. However, despite the apparent gender gap, the exciting world of technology as we know it today would not exist without the brilliance and innovation of intelligent women, who worked tirelessly to make it all possible. In honor of  Women’s  History Month, here is a list of three women who forever changed how we think about and use computer technology. 

Ada Lovelace:

Photo courtesy of Biography.com

Ada Lovelace is credited as being the world’s first computer programmer. Lovelace was the daughter of the famous poet Lord Bryon. Lovelace’s passion for mathematics and machines from a very young age led to a working relationship with the ‘father of computing’ Charles Babbage in the 1830s. Together they would create the concept known as the “Analytical Engine,” which would later become the inspiration for the invention of the modern computer in the 1940s by Alan Turing. 

Grace Hopper:

Photo courtesy of Biography.com

Naval officer and computer scientist Grace Hopper was a trailblazer when it came to computer programming and is considered by some to be “the mother of modern computing.” Hopper helped develop the first-ever computer programming compiler in 1952 known as A-0, which helped pioneer automatic programming. In 1959, Hopper also helped develop the Common Business Oriented Language (COBOL) programming language, which is still widely used in finance programming today.  She is also credited for discovering the first-ever software computer bug in 1947. President Barack Obama awarded Hopper the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2016.

Roberta Williams

Photo courtesy of sierragamers.com

Roberta Williams was a video game designer and co-founded the early video game company Sierra Online with her husband, Ken Williams, in 1979.  In 1980, Roberta Williams developed the first computer game with graphics named “Mystery House” in her kitchen. Williams is also known for creating the “Kings Quest” video game series. “King’s Quest” is considered one of the most influential, oldest, and longest-running video game series in the adventure game genre. Gamespot named Williams one of the most influential people in computer gaming of all time in 2005.


Computers and technology as we know today would not exist had it not been for the tenacity and passion each of these women had for computers and technology. Some other notable women of technology include Hedy Lammar (inventor of WiFi), Mary Wilkes (the first home computer user), and Radia Perlman (the mother of the internet). 

During Women’s History Month, we must not only honor and celebrate the accomplishments these amazing women made to society, but use this month to recognize that each of these women crushed the tech ‘glass ceiling.’ These technological pioneers proved that they could be just as competitive in a field almost entirely dominated by men.


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