In the United States, Women’s History Month traces its beginnings back to the first International Women’s Day in 1911. In 1978, the school district of Sonoma, California participated in Women’s History Week, an event designed around the week of March 8 (International Women’s Day). In 1987, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9 which designated the month of March 1987 as Women’s History Month.
Women Influencers in Technology
Here are some wonderful examples of talented Women in Technology that have gone barely noticed.
“When [women] have been written out of the history, [girls] don’t have great role models. But when you learn about the women who programmed ENIAC or Grace Hopper or Ada Lovelace … it happened to my daughter. She read about all these people when she was in high school, and she became a math and computer science geek.”
Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson
NASA’s (NACA at the time) “Hidden Figures”
Ada Lovelace (1815-1852)
Prophet of Computer Age
Edith Clarke (1883-1959)
Keeps Current, Takes Charge
Women of ENIAC (1946)
Grace Hopper (1906-1992)
“Amazing Grace,” Queen of Software
Evelyn Boyd Granville (1924-)
Race, Space, & Education Advocacy
Sister Mary Kenneth Keller (1913-1985)
First Female Computer Science PhD
Susan Kare (1954-)
The Apple Icon
Carol Shaw (1955-)
Atari Game Developer
Janese Swanson (1958-)
Can You Make it Pink?
Radia Perlman (1951-)
“Don’t Call Me Mother of the Internet”
Thank you to all our historic women who have stood up, made noise, and demanded equal rights. I now have the right to succeed if I put in the work, learn, and help others. Thanks also to all the good and great men, dads, brothers, sons, and friends that are helping make all of this possible in the past, present, and in the future. Today, we celebrate all women who have made a difference and those that are going to make a difference!
Here are some statistics from an article in the Observer in 2017:
1. Women own only 5 percent of startups.
2. They earn only 28 percent of computer science degrees.
3. Only 7 percent of partners at top 100 venture capital firms are women.
4. After peaking in 1991 at 36 percent, the rate of women in computing roles has been in steady decline.
5. Now, they hold only 25 percent of computing jobs.
6. Women hold only 11 percent of executive positions at Silicon Valley companies.
7. In the high tech industry, the quit rate is more than twice as high for women (41 percent) than it is for men (17 percent).
8. Last year, venture capitalists invested just $1.46 billion in women-led companies. Male-led companies earned $58.2 billion in investments.
9. While 82 percent of men in startups believed their companies spent the “right amount of time” addressing diversity, nearly half of women—40 percent—disagreed, saying “not enough time was devoted.”
10. For women in the tech industry under age 25, earnings on average are 29 percent less than their male counterparts.
11. Women receive lower salary offers than men for the same job at the same company 63 percent of the time.
12. About 74 percent of young girls express interest in STEM fields and computer science. Looking at the above statistics, it’s obvious these girls are deterred.
Although women are behind in all the statistics listed above, and are paid far less for the same work, there are many people and groups of women and men that believe in equality for women helping to educate our young women and support our women leading the charge. The only way we can even out these statistics is by becoming more educated, more ambitious, realizing we can do this, helping each other, and advocating for the rights to succeed as our fathers and brothers have.
This year’s theme is “Nevertheless, She Persisted: Honoring Women Who Fight All Forms of Discrimination against Women”, referring to Mitch McConnell’s “Nevertheless, she persisted” remark about Elizabeth Warren. “Nevertheless, she persisted” is an expression adopted by the feminist movement, especially in the United States. It became popular in 2017 after the United States Senate voted to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren’s objections to confirmation of Senator Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell uttered this sentence during comments following the vote in an effort to defend the Senate’s actions and blame Warren. The expression went viral as feminists posted it with hashtag references to other women. Conservative critics objected that comparisons between Warren and other female political activists were inappropriate. Its meaning expanded to refer to women’s persistence in breaking barriers, despite being silenced or ignored.