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10 wonder women in STEM – past and present

The first International Women’s Day was 108 years ago today. While a lot has changed over the past 10 decades, we’d still like to see more women in STEM-related roles.

Here at TrueMotion, we’re grateful to work with awesome women every day. So, on International Women’s Day, we decided to pay tribute to some of the amazing women who paved the way. We chose ten inspiring women who have made a big impact in STEM – from past and present.

1. Ada Lovelace: the first computer programmer

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Ada Lovelace envisioned the future of computers. Some even call her the first computer programmer. In the mid-1800s, she published work about a world with general-purpose computers. These devices used codes made up of letters, symbols, and numbers. She even outlined the concept of looping and predicted that computers could be used to make music.

2. Grace Hopper: the mother of computing

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Dubbed “the mother of computing,” Grace Hopper helped develop the first computer compiler and the programming language COBOL. She believed that programming languages should mimic the English language. Without Hopper, programming languages wouldn’t use “if/then” statements or the term “bug!”

3. Katherine Johnson: NASA’s “female computer”

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You might have learned about Katherine Johnson in the film “Hidden Figures.” She has been called NASA’s “female computer” because she was monumental to US spaceflight. Johnson was an impressive physicist and mathematician and was one of the number-crunching women behind NASA’s first trip to space and the Apollo missions to the moon.

4. Hedy Lamarr: the “mother of Wi-Fi” and wireless communication technologies

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Hedy Lamarr was a rare combination of famous actress and inventor. During WWII, she helped invent a new communication system for the US military. She patented frequency hopping to stop torpedos from being intercepted. The US navy didn’t adopt her technology, but it became the foundation for today’s WiFi, GPS, and Bluetooth technologies.

5. Adele Goldberg: the woman behind “what-you-see-is-what-you-get”

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If it weren’t for Adele Goldberg’s work, computing wouldn’t be as user-friendly. Golberg was one of the creators of Smalltalk-80, the first language tool for live programming. Smalltalk-80 introduced the concept of windows, menus, and more and laid the groundwork for the graphical user interface (GUI). Steve Jobs borrowed these concepts for Apple computers after he visited Xerox PARC. 

6. Susan Kare: the “woman who gave the Macintosh a smile”

Susan Kare is the graphic designer behind Apple Macintosh’s interface elements. Her fun and intuitive icons and typefaces gave Apple products personality. The trash can, cherry bomb, and smiling desktop were all her designs. Her fonts, Chicago, Monaco, and Geneva, are found on Mac OS systems and generations of iPods.

7. Jean Liu: President of Didi Chuxing

Jean Liu is a powerhouse businesswoman and president of the Chinese rideshare company, Didi Chuxing – the world’s largest mobile transportation platform. Since taking the reins in 2014, Liu has grown the company’s operations to 400 cities. Liu has also increased the number of female employees at Didi Chuxing. As of 2017, women held 37% of the company’s tech positions. Liu also made Forbes’ “The World’s 100 Most Powerful Women” list.

8. Susan Wojcicki: CEO of YouTube

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Susan Wojcicki is one of the top tech executives in the world and sets an example for women in tech. Once Google’s only marketer and 16th employee, Wojcicki climbed her way to becoming YouTube’s CEO in 2014. She’s a vocal advocate for closing the gender gap in tech and her voice has increased the number of YouTube’s female employees by 6% and Google’s by 30%. A mother of five, she has also fought for mandatory US maternity leave policies.

9. Isabelle Olsson: The industrial designer behind the Google Glass

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Best known for her work on Google Glass, Isabelle Olsson creatively pushes boundaries for technology as we know it today. Olsson leads industrial design for Google’s home and wearable products. Her goal is to create the products of the future so perfectly that they’re almost invisible to us.

10. Kimberly Bryant: Founder and CEO of Black Girls CODE

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Kimberly Bryant is bringing more diversity to tech by empowering young women of color. After working for over 20 years as an electrical engineer, Bryant started an organization that’s dedicated to changing the face of technology. The organization provides STEM education for African-American girls, teaching them everything from coding and programming to entrepreneurial skills.

Choosing 10 innovative women for this list was a tough task. We know there are many other trailblazers out there. Who do you think should be on our 2020 list? Let us know in chat.

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