Women In Tech: 5 Names You Should Know
Women are behind many of the technologies that shape your every life, but they receive far less publicity in the media. PwC has found that 78% of students, and one-day future leaders, can’t name a famous woman working in technology. It’s about time we change that. Read on to learn more about successful female founders who are leading the way in tech.
Ellen K. Pao
Pao first came into the spotlight in 2012 when she filed a gender discrimination suit against her former employer, the huge Silicon Valley VC firm Kleiner Perkins. Despite losing the case, Pao sparked a new debate about the treatment of women in VC and tech.
Continuing her fight against gender inequality, Pao banned revenge porn and unauthorised nude photos in her role as CEO of Reddit. This resulted in misogynistic backlash from the Reddit community which followed with her resignation.
Constantly fighting back against the gender discrimination she faces, Pao founded Project Include, an award-winning non-profit organisation which focuses on improving diversity and inclusion in tech.
Whitney Wolfe Herd
Wolfe Herd co-founded the dating app Tinder in 2013 but left a year later following a lawsuit against the company for sexual harassment and discrimination.
Wolfe Herd was motivated by this experience to drive change in business and relationships for women. In 2014, she founded Bumble with the aim of revolutionising gender equality in dating. On February 11 2021, at 31 she became the youngest female CEO to take a company public in the US and youngest female self-made billionaire.
Telyan co-founded UENI in 2014, with the aim of enhancing the success of entrepreneurs on the internet.
“We want to level the playing for small businesses,” Telyan says, “for consumers, this means far greater choice when buying locally. For our customers, it means more trade and business growth. As for big businesses that have been taking their customers for granted, watch out”.
UENI’s growth has been monumental, aiding a huge range of entrepreneurs to realise their dreams. 3000 businesses now sign up to UENI per day, in comparison to 100 per day at the beginning of 2019.
Moving up through various senior positions at Google, in 2006 Wojcicki made the audacious suggestion for the company to buy the startup YouTube, a controversial move at the time.
In 2014, Wojcicki became YouTube’s CEO, driving its growth to its current worth of approximately $160bn. Under her leadership, the proportion of female staff has increased from one quarter to one third, and she only wants this to grow: “If only 25% of people coming into tech are women, then there are some stories and some perspectives that are not being shared.”
Saujani, an activist and attorney, became interested in tech in 2010, during her campaign to become the first Indian-American congresswoman. In visiting high schools, she witnesses first-hand the gender gap in computing classes and was inspired to set up the international non-profit organisation Girls Who Code, which inspires, educates, and equips young women with computer skills.
Header image: Reshma Saujani via Marla Aufmuth / TED.